[Paleopsych] Nietzsche: The Antichrist (trans. by Mr. Mencken)

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Nietzsche: The Antichrist (trans. by Mr. Mencken)

                                The Antichrist


    This book belongs to the most rare of men. Perhaps not one of them is
    yet alive. It is possible that they may be among those who understand
    my "Zarathustra": how could I confound myself with those who are now
    sprouting ears?--First the day after tomorrow must come for me. Some
    men are born posthumously.

    The conditions under which any one understands me, and necessarily
    understands me--I know them only too well. Even to endure my
    seriousness, my passion, he must carry intellectual integrity to the
    verge of hardness. He must be accustomed to living on mountain
    tops--and to looking upon the wretched gabble of politics and
    nationalism as beneath him. He must have become indifferent; he must
    never ask of the truth whether it brings profit to him or a fatality
    to him... He must have an inclination, born of strength, for questions
    that no one has the courage for; the courage for the forbidden;
    predestination for the labyrinth. The experience of seven solitudes.
    New ears for new music. New eyes for what is most distant. A new
    conscience for truths that have hitherto remained unheard. And the
    will to economize in the grand manner--to hold together his strength,
    his enthusiasm...Reverence for self; love of self; absolute freedom of

    Very well, then! of that sort only are my readers, my true readers, my
    readers foreordained: of what account are the rest?--The rest are
    merely humanity.--One must make one's self superior to humanity, in
    power, in loftiness of soul,--in contempt.

                                                   FRIEDRICH W. NIETZSCHE.


    --Let us look each other in the face. We are Hyperboreans--we know
    well enough how remote our place is. "Neither by land nor by water
    will you find the road to the Hyperboreans": even Pindar^1,in his day,
    knew that much about us. Beyond the North, beyond the ice, beyond
    death--our life, our happiness...We have discovered that happiness; we
    know the way; we got our knowledge of it from thousands of years in
    the labyrinth. Who else has found it?--The man of today?--"I don't
    know either the way out or the way in; I am whatever doesn't know
    either the way out or the way in"--so sighs the man of today...This is
    the sort of modernity that made us ill,--we sickened on lazy peace,
    cowardly compromise, the whole virtuous dirtiness of the modern Yea
    and Nay. This tolerance and largeur of the heart that "forgives"
    everything because it "understands" everything is a sirocco to us.
    Rather live amid the ice than among modern virtues and other such
    south-winds! . . . We were brave enough; we spared neither ourselves
    nor others; but we were a long time finding out where to direct our
    courage. We grew dismal; they called us fatalists. Our fate--it was
    the fulness, the tension, the storing up of powers. We thirsted for
    the lightnings and great deeds; we kept as far as possible from the
    happiness of the weakling, from "resignation" . . . There was thunder
    in our air; nature, as we embodied it, became overcast--for we had not
    yet found the way. The formula of our happiness: a Yea, a Nay, a
    straight line, a goal...


    What is good?--Whatever augments the feeling of power, the will to
    power, power itself, in man.
    What is evil?--Whatever springs from weakness.
    What is happiness?--The feeling that power increases--that resistance
    is overcome.
    Not contentment, but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not
    virtue, but efficiency (virtue in the Renaissance sense, virtu, virtue
    free of moral acid).
    The weak and the botched shall perish: first principle of our charity.
    And one should help them to it.
    What is more harmful than any vice?--Practical sympathy for the
    botched and the weak--Christianity...


    The problem that I set here is not what shall replace mankind in the
    order of living creatures (--man is an end--): but what type of man
    must be bred, must be willed, as being the most valuable, the most
    worthy of life, the most secure guarantee of the future.

    This more valuable type has appeared often enough in the past: but
    always as a happy accident, as an exception, never as deliberately
    willed. Very often it has been precisely the most feared; hitherto it
    has been almost the terror of terrors ;--and out of that terror the
    contrary type has been willed, cultivated and attained: the domestic
    animal, the herd animal, the sick brute-man--the Christian. . .


    Mankind surely does not represent an evolution toward a better or
    stronger or higher level, as progress is now understood. This
    "progress" is merely a modern idea, which is to say, a false idea. The
    European of today, in his essential worth, falls far below the
    European of the Renaissance; the process of evolution does not
    necessarily mean elevation, enhancement, strengthening.

    True enough, it succeeds in isolated and individual cases in various
    parts of the earth and under the most widely different cultures, and
    in these cases a higher type certainly manifests itself; something
    which, compared to mankind in the mass, appears as a sort of superman.
    Such happy strokes of high success have always been possible, and will
    remain possible, perhaps, for all time to come. Even whole races,
    tribes and nations may occasionally represent such lucky accidents.


    We should not deck out and embellish Christianity: it has waged a war
    to the death against this higher type of man, it has put all the
    deepest instincts of this type under its ban, it has developed its
    concept of evil, of the Evil One himself, out of these instincts--the
    strong man as the typical reprobate, the "outcast among men."
    Christianity has taken the part of all the weak, the low, the botched;
    it has made an ideal out of antagonism to all the self-preservative
    instincts of sound life; it has corrupted even the faculties of those
    natures that are intellectually most vigorous, by representing the
    highest intellectual values as sinful, as misleading, as full of
    temptation. The most lamentable example: the corruption of Pascal, who
    believed that his intellect had been destroyed by original sin,
    whereas it was actually destroyed by Christianity!--


    It is a painful and tragic spectacle that rises before me: I have
    drawn back the curtain from the rottenness of man. This word, in my
    mouth, is at least free from one suspicion: that it involves a moral
    accusation against humanity. It is used--and I wish to emphasize the
    fact again--without any moral significance: and this is so far true
    that the rottenness I speak of is most apparent to me precisely in
    those quarters where there has been most aspiration, hitherto, toward
    "virtue" and "godliness." As you probably surmise, I understand
    rottenness in the sense of decadence: my argument is that all the
    values on which mankind now fixes its highest aspirations are

    I call an animal, a species, an individual corrupt, when it loses its
    instincts, when it chooses, when it prefers, what is injurious to it.
    A history of the "higher feelings," the "ideals of humanity"--and it
    is possible that I'll have to write it--would almost explain why man
    is so degenerate. Life itself appears to me as an instinct for growth,
    for survival, for the accumulation of forces, for power: whenever the
    will to power fails there is disaster. My contention is that all the
    highest values of humanity have been emptied of this will--that the
    values of decadence, of nihilism, now prevail under the holiest names.


    Christianity is called the religion of pity.-- Pity stands in
    opposition to all the tonic passions that augment the energy of the
    feeling of aliveness: it is a depressant. A man loses power when he
    pities. Through pity that drain upon strength which suffering works is
    multiplied a thousandfold. Suffering is made contagious by pity; under
    certain circumstances it may lead to a total sacrifice of life and
    living energy--a loss out of all proportion to the magnitude of the
    cause (--the case of the death of the Nazarene). This is the first
    view of it; there is, however, a still more important one. If one
    measures the effects of pity by the gravity of the reactions it sets
    up, its character as a menace to life appears in a much clearer light.
    Pity thwarts the whole law of evolution, which is the law of natural
    selection. It preserves whatever is ripe for destruction; it fights on
    the side of those disinherited and condemned by life; by maintaining
    life in so many of the botched of all kinds, it gives life itself a
    gloomy and dubious aspect. Mankind has ventured to call pity a virtue
    (--in every superior moral system it appears as a weakness--); going
    still further, it has been called the virtue, the source and
    foundation of all other virtues--but let us always bear in mind that
    this was from the standpoint of a philosophy that was nihilistic, and
    upon whose shield the denial of life was inscribed. Schopenhauer was
    right in this: that by means of pity life is denied, and made worthy
    of denial--pity is the technic of nihilism. Let me repeat: this
    depressing and contagious instinct stands against all those instincts
    which work for the preservation and enhancement of life: in the role
    of protector of the miserable, it is a prime agent in the promotion of
    decadence--pity persuades to extinction....Of course, one doesn't say
    "extinction": one says "the other world," or "God," or "the true
    life," or Nirvana, salvation, blessedness.... This innocent rhetoric,
    from the realm of religious-ethical balderdash, appears a good deal
    less innocent when one reflects upon the tendency that it conceals
    beneath sublime words: the tendency to destroy life. Schopenhauer was
    hostile to life: that is why pity appeared to him as a virtue. . . .
    Aristotle, as every one knows, saw in pity a sickly and dangerous
    state of mind, the remedy for which was an occasional purgative: he
    regarded tragedy as that purgative. The instinct of life should prompt
    us to seek some means of puncturing any such pathological and
    dangerous accumulation of pity as that appearing in Schopenhauer's
    case (and also, alack, in that of our whole literary decadence, from
    St. Petersburg to Paris, from Tolstoi to Wagner), that it may burst
    and be discharged. . . Nothing is more unhealthy, amid all our
    unhealthy modernism, than Christian pity. To be the doctors here, to
    be unmerciful here, to wield the knife here--all this is our business,
    all this is our sort of humanity, by this sign we are philosophers, we
    Hyperboreans !--


    It is necessary to say just whom we regard as our antagonists:
    theologians and all who have any theological blood in their
    veins--this is our whole philosophy. . . . One must have faced that
    menace at close hand, better still, one must have had experience of it
    directly and almost succumbed to it, to realize that it is not to be
    taken lightly (--the alleged free-thinking of our naturalists and
    physiologists seems to me to be a joke--they have no passion about
    such things; they have not suffered--). This poisoning goes a great
    deal further than most people think: I find the arrogant habit of the
    theologian among all who regard themselves as "idealists"--among all
    who, by virtue of a higher point of departure, claim a right to rise
    above reality, and to look upon it with suspicion. . . The idealist,
    like the ecclesiastic, carries all sorts of lofty concepts in his hand
    (--and not only in his hand!); he launches them with benevolent
    contempt against "understanding," "the senses," "honor," "good
    living," "science"; he sees such things as beneath him, as pernicious
    and seductive forces, on which "the soul" soars as a pure
    thing-in-itself--as if humility, chastity, poverty, in a word,
    holiness, had not already done much more damage to life than all
    imaginable horrors and vices. . . The pure soul is a pure lie. . . So
    long as the priest, that professional denier, calumniator and poisoner
    of life, is accepted as a higher variety of man, there can be no
    answer to the question, What is truth? Truth has already been stood on
    its head when the obvious attorney of mere emptiness is mistaken for
    its representative.


    Upon this theological instinct I make war: I find the tracks of it
    everywhere. Whoever has theological blood in his veins is shifty and
    dishonourable in all things. The pathetic thing that grows out of this
    condition is called faith: in other words, closing one's eyes upon
    one's self once for all, to avoid suffering the sight of incurable
    falsehood. People erect a concept of morality, of virtue, of holiness
    upon this false view of all things; they ground good conscience upon
    faulty vision; they argue that no other sort of vision has value any
    more, once they have made theirs sacrosanct with the names of "God,"
    "salvation" and "eternity." I unearth this theological instinct in all
    directions: it is the most widespread and the most subterranean form
    of falsehood to be found on earth. Whatever a theologian regards as
    true must be false: there you have almost a criterion of truth. His
    profound instinct of self-preservation stands against truth ever
    coming into honour in any way, or even getting stated. Wherever the
    influence of theologians is felt there is a transvaluation of values,
    and the concepts "true" and "false" are forced to change places: what
    ever is most damaging to life is there called "true," and whatever
    exalts it, intensifies it, approves it, justifies it and makes it
    triumphant is there called "false."... When theologians, working
    through the "consciences" of princes (or of peoples--), stretch out
    their hands for power, there is never any doubt as to the fundamental
    issue: the will to make an end, the nihilistic will exerts that


    Among Germans I am immediately understood when I say that theological
    blood is the ruin of philosophy. The Protestant pastor is the
    grandfather of German philosophy; Protestantism itself is its peccatum
    originale. Definition of Protestantism: hemiplegic paralysis of
    Christianity--and of reason. ... One need only utter the words
    "Tubingen School" to get an understanding of what German philosophy is
    at bottom--a very artful form of theology. . . The Suabians are the
    best liars in Germany; they lie innocently. . . . Why all the
    rejoicing over the appearance of Kant that went through the learned
    world of Germany, three-fourths of which is made up of the sons of
    preachers and teachers--why the German conviction still echoing, that
    with Kant came a change for the better? The theological instinct of
    German scholars made them see clearly just what had become possible
    again. . . . A backstairs leading to the old ideal stood open; the
    concept of the "true world," the concept of morality as the essence of
    the world (--the two most vicious errors that ever existed!), were
    once more, thanks to a subtle and wily scepticism, if not actually
    demonstrable, then at least no longer refutable... Reason, the
    prerogative of reason, does not go so far. . . Out of reality there
    had been made "appearance"; an absolutely false world, that of being,
    had been turned into reality. . . . The success of Kant is merely a
    theological success; he was, like Luther and Leibnitz, but one more
    impediment to German integrity, already far from steady.--


    A word now against Kant as a moralist. A virtue must be our invention;
    it must spring out of our personal need and defence. In every other
    case it is a source of danger. That which does not belong to our life
    menaces it; a virtue which has its roots in mere respect for the
    concept of "virtue," as Kant would have it, is pernicious. "Virtue,"
    "duty," "good for its own sake," goodness grounded upon impersonality
    or a notion of universal validity--these are all chimeras, and in them
    one finds only an expression of the decay, the last collapse of life,
    the Chinese spirit of Konigsberg. Quite the contrary is demanded by
    the most profound laws of self-preservation and of growth: to wit,
    that every man find hisown virtue, his own categorical imperative. A
    nation goes to pieces when it confounds its duty with the general
    concept of duty. Nothing works a more complete and penetrating
    disaster than every "impersonal" duty, every sacrifice before the
    Moloch of abstraction.--To think that no one has thought of Kant's
    categorical imperative as dangerous to life!...The theological
    instinct alone took it under protection !--An action prompted by the
    life-instinct proves that it is a right action by the amount of
    pleasure that goes with it: and yet that Nihilist, with his bowels of
    Christian dogmatism, regarded pleasure as an objection . . . What
    destroys a man more quickly than to work, think and feel without inner
    necessity, without any deep personal desire, without pleasure--as a
    mere automaton of duty? That is the recipe for decadence, and no less
    for idiocy. . . Kant became an idiot.--And such a man was the
    contemporary of Goethe! This calamitous spinner of cobwebs passed for
    the German philosopher--still passes today! . . . I forbid myself to
    say what I think of the Germans. . . . Didn't Kant see in the French
    Revolution the transformation of the state from the inorganic form to
    the organic? Didn't he ask himself if there was a single event that
    could be explained save on the assumption of a moral faculty in man,
    so that on the basis of it, "the tendency of mankind toward the good"
    could be explained, once and for all time? Kant's answer: "That is
    revolution." Instinct at fault in everything and anything, instinct as
    a revolt against nature, German decadence as a philosophy--that is


    I put aside a few sceptics, the types of decency in the history of
    philosophy: the rest haven't the slightest conception of intellectual
    integrity. They behave like women, all these great enthusiasts and
    prodigies--they regard "beautiful feelings" as arguments, the "heaving
    breast" as the bellows of divine inspiration, conviction as the
    criterion of truth. In the end, with "German" innocence, Kant tried to
    give a scientific flavour to this form of corruption, this dearth of
    intellectual conscience, by calling it "practical reason." He
    deliberately invented a variety of reasons for use on occasions when
    it was desirable not to trouble with reason--that is, when morality,
    when the sublime command "thou shalt," was heard. When one recalls the
    fact that, among all peoples, the philosopher is no more than a
    development from the old type of priest, this inheritance from the
    priest, this fraud upon self, ceases to be remarkable. When a man
    feels that he has a divine mission, say to lift up, to save or to
    liberate mankind--when a man feels the divine spark in his heart and
    believes that he is the mouthpiece of supernatural imperatives--when
    such a mission in. flames him, it is only natural that he should stand
    beyond all merely reasonable standards of judgment. He feels that he
    is himself sanctified by this mission, that he is himself a type of a
    higher order! . . . What has a priest to do with philosophy! He stands
    far above it!--And hitherto the priest has ruled!--He has determined
    the meaning of "true" and "not true"!


    Let us not under-estimate this fact: that we ourselves, we free
    spirits, are already a "transvaluation of all values," a visualized
    declaration of war and victory against all the old concepts of "true"
    and "not true." The most valuable intuitions are the last to be
    attained; the most valuable of all are those which determine methods.
    All the methods, all the principles of the scientific spirit of today,
    were the targets for thousands of years of the most profound contempt;
    if a man inclined to them he was excluded from the society of "decent"
    people--he passed as "an enemy of God," as a scoffer at the truth, as
    one "possessed." As a man of science, he belonged to the Chandala^2...
    We have had the whole pathetic stupidity of mankind against us--their
    every notion of what the truth ought to be, of what the service of the
    truth ought to be--their every "thou shalt" was launched against us. .
    . . Our objectives, our methods, our quiet, cautious, distrustful
    manner--all appeared to them as absolutely discreditable and
    contemptible.--Looking back, one may almost ask one's self with reason
    if it was not actually an aesthetic sense that kept men blind so long:
    what they demanded of the truth was picturesque effectiveness, and of
    the learned a strong appeal to their senses. It was our modesty that
    stood out longest against their taste...How well they guessed that,
    these turkey-cocks of God!


    We have unlearned something. We have be come more modest in every way.
    We no longer derive man from the "spirit," from the "god-head"; we
    have dropped him back among the beasts. We regard him as the strongest
    of the beasts because he is the craftiest; one of the results thereof
    is his intellectuality. On the other hand, we guard ourselves against
    a conceit which would assert itself even here: that man is the great
    second thought in the process of organic evolution. He is, in truth,
    anything but the crown of creation: beside him stand many other
    animals, all at similar stages of development... And even when we say
    that we say a bit too much, for man, relatively speaking, is the most
    botched of all the animals and the sickliest, and he has wandered the
    most dangerously from his instincts--though for all that, to be sure,
    he remains the most interesting!--As regards the lower animals, it was
    Descartes who first had the really admirable daring to describe them
    as machina; the whole of our physiology is directed toward proving the
    truth of this doctrine. Moreover, it is illogical to set man apart, as
    Descartes did: what we know of man today is limited precisely by the
    extent to which we have regarded him, too, as a machine. Formerly we
    accorded to man, as his inheritance from some higher order of beings,
    what was called "free will"; now we have taken even this will from
    him, for the term no longer describes anything that we can understand.
    The old word "will" now connotes only a sort of result, an individual
    reaction, that follows inevitably upon a series of partly discordant
    and partly harmonious stimuli--the will no longer "acts," or "moves."
    . . . Formerly it was thought that man's consciousness, his "spirit,"
    offered evidence of his high origin, his divinity. That he might be
    perfected, he was advised, tortoise-like, to draw his senses in, to
    have no traffic with earthly things, to shuffle off his mortal
    coil--then only the important part of him, the "pure spirit," would
    remain. Here again we have thought out the thing better: to us
    consciousness, or "the spirit," appears as a symptom of a relative
    imperfection of the organism, as an experiment, a groping, a
    misunderstanding, as an affliction which uses up nervous force
    unnecessarily--we deny that anything can be done perfectly so long as
    it is done consciously. The "pure spirit" is a piece of pure
    stupidity: take away the nervous system and the senses, the so-called
    "mortal shell," and the rest is miscalculation--that is all!...


    Under Christianity neither morality nor religion has any point of
    contact with actuality. It offers purely imaginary causes ("God"
    "soul," "ego," "spirit," "free will"--or even "unfree"), and purely
    imaginary effects ("sin" "salvation" "grace," "punishment,"
    "forgiveness of sins"). Intercourse between imaginarybeings ("God,"
    "spirits," "souls"); an imaginarynatural history (anthropocentric; a
    total denial of the concept of natural causes); an imaginary
    psychology (misunderstandings of self, misinterpretations of agreeable
    or disagreeable general feelings--for example, of the states of the
    nervus sympathicus with the help of the sign-language of
    religio-ethical balderdash--, "repentance," "pangs of conscience,"
    "temptation by the devil," "the presence of God"); an
    imaginaryteleology (the "kingdom of God," "the last judgment,"
    "eternal life").--This purely fictitious world, greatly to its
    disadvantage, is to be differentiated from the world of dreams; the
    later at least reflects reality, whereas the former falsifies it,
    cheapens it and denies it. Once the concept of "nature" had been
    opposed to the concept of "God," the word "natural" necessarily took
    on the meaning of "abominable"--the whole of that fictitious world has
    its sources in hatred of the natural (--the real!--), and is no more
    than evidence of a profound uneasiness in the presence of reality. . .
    . This explains everything. Who alone has any reason for living his
    way out of reality? The man who suffers under it. But to suffer from
    reality one must be a botched reality. . . . The preponderance of
    pains over pleasures is the cause of this fictitious morality and
    religion: but such a preponderance also supplies the formula for


    A criticism of the Christian concept of God leads inevitably to the
    same conclusion.--A nation that still believes in itself holds fast to
    its own god. In him it does honour to the conditions which enable it
    to survive, to its virtues--it projects its joy in itself, its feeling
    of power, into a being to whom one may offer thanks. He who is rich
    will give of his riches; a proud people need a god to whom they can
    make sacrifices. . . Religion, within these limits, is a form of
    gratitude. A man is grateful for his own existence: to that end he
    needs a god.--Such a god must be able to work both benefits and
    injuries; he must be able to play either friend or foe--he is wondered
    at for the good he does as well as for the evil he does. But the
    castration, against all nature, of such a god, making him a god of
    goodness alone, would be contrary to human inclination. Mankind has
    just as much need for an evil god as for a good god; it doesn't have
    to thank mere tolerance and humanitarianism for its own existence. . .
    . What would be the value of a god who knew nothing of anger, revenge,
    envy, scorn, cunning, violence? who had perhaps never experienced the
    rapturous ardeurs of victory and of destruction? No one would
    understand such a god: why should any one want him?--True enough, when
    a nation is on the downward path, when it feels its belief in its own
    future, its hope of freedom slipping from it, when it begins to see
    submission as a first necessity and the virtues of submission as
    measures of self-preservation, then it must overhaul its god. He then
    becomes a hypocrite, timorous and demure; he counsels "peace of soul,"
    hate-no-more, leniency, "love" of friend and foe. He moralizes
    endlessly; he creeps into every private virtue; he becomes the god of
    every man; he becomes a private citizen, a cosmopolitan. . . Formerly
    he represented a people, the strength of a people, everything
    aggressive and thirsty for power in the soul of a people; now he is
    simply the good god...The truth is that there is no other alternative
    for gods: either they are the will to power--in which case they are
    national gods--or incapacity for power--in which case they have to be


    Wherever the will to power begins to decline, in whatever form, there
    is always an accompanying decline physiologically, a decadence. The
    divinity of this decadence, shorn of its masculine virtues and
    passions, is converted perforce into a god of the physiologically
    degraded, of the weak. Of course, they do not call themselves the
    weak; they call themselves "the good." . . . No hint is needed to
    indicate the moments in history at which the dualistic fiction of a
    good and an evil god first became possible. The same instinct which
    prompts the inferior to reduce their own god to "goodness-in-itself"
    also prompts them to eliminate all good qualities from the god of
    their superiors; they make revenge on their masters by making a devil
    of the latter's god.--The good god, and the devil like him--both are
    abortions of decadence.--How can we be so tolerant of the naïveté of
    Christian theologians as to join in their doctrine that the evolution
    of the concept of god from "the god of Israel," the god of a people,
    to the Christian god, the essence of all goodness, is to be described
    as progress?--But even Renan does this. As if Renan had a right to be
    naïve! The contrary actually stares one in the face. When everything
    necessary to ascending life; when all that is strong, courageous,
    masterful and proud has been eliminated from the concept of a god;
    when he has sunk step by step to the level of a staff for the weary, a
    sheet-anchor for the drowning; when he be comes the poor man's god,
    the sinner's god, the invalid's god par excellence, and the attribute
    of "saviour" or "redeemer" remains as the one essential attribute of
    divinity--just what is the significance of such a metamorphosis? what
    does such a reduction of the godhead imply?--To be sure, the "kingdom
    of God" has thus grown larger. Formerly he had only his own people,
    his "chosen" people. But since then he has gone wandering, like his
    people themselves, into foreign parts; he has given up settling down
    quietly anywhere; finally he has come to feel at home everywhere, and
    is the great cosmopolitan--until now he has the "great majority" on
    his side, and half the earth. But this god of the "great majority,"
    this democrat among gods, has not become a proud heathen god: on the
    contrary, he remains a Jew, he remains a god in a corner, a god of all
    the dark nooks and crevices, of all the noisesome quarters of the
    world! . . His earthly kingdom, now as always, is a kingdom of the
    underworld, a souterrain kingdom, a ghetto kingdom. . . And he himself
    is so pale, so weak, so decadent .  . . Even the palest of the pale
    are able to master him--messieurs the metaphysicians, those albinos of
    the intellect. They spun their webs around him for so long that
    finally he was hypnotized, and began to spin himself, and became
    another metaphysician. Thereafter he resumed once more his old
    business of spinning the world out of his inmost being sub specie
    Spinozae; thereafter he be came ever thinner and paler--became the
    "ideal," became "pure spirit," became "the absolute," became "the
    thing-in-itself." . . . The collapse of a god: he became a


    The Christian concept of a god--the god as the patron of the sick, the
    god as a spinner of cobwebs, the god as a spirit--is one of the most
    corrupt concepts that has ever been set up in the world: it probably
    touches low-water mark in the ebbing evolution of the god-type. God
    degenerated into the contradiction of life. Instead of being its
    transfiguration and eternal Yea! In him war is declared on life, on
    nature, on the will to live! God becomes the formula for every slander
    upon the "here and now," and for every lie about the "beyond"! In him
    nothingness is deified, and the will to nothingness is made holy! . .


    The fact that the strong races of northern Europe did not repudiate
    this Christian god does little credit to their gift for religion--and
    not much more to their taste. They ought to have been able to make an
    end of such a moribund and worn-out product of the decadence. A curse
    lies upon them because they were not equal to it; they made illness,
    decrepitude and contradiction a part of their instincts--and since
    then they have not managed to create any more gods. Two thousand years
    have come and gone--and not a single new god! Instead, there still
    exists, and as if by some intrinsic right,--as if he were the
    ultimatum and maximum of the power to create gods, of the creator
    spiritus in mankind--this pitiful god of Christian monotono-theism!
    This hybrid image of decay, conjured up out of emptiness,
    contradiction and vain imagining, in which all the instincts of
    decadence, all the cowardices and wearinesses of the soul find their


    In my condemnation of Christianity I surely hope I do no injustice to
    a related religion with an even larger number of believers: I allude
    to Buddhism. Both are to be reckoned among the nihilistic
    religions--they are both decadence religions--but they are separated
    from each other in a very remarkable way. For the fact that he is able
    to compare them at all the critic of Christianity is indebted to the
    scholars of India.--Buddhism is a hundred times as realistic as
    Christianity--it is part of its living heritage that it is able to
    face problems objectively and coolly; it is the product of long
    centuries of philosophical speculation. The concept, "god," was
    already disposed of before it appeared. Buddhism is the only genuinely
    positive religion to be encountered in history, and this applies even
    to its epistemology (which is a strict phenomenalism) --It does not
    speak of a "struggle with sin," but, yielding to reality, of the
    "struggle with suffering." Sharply differentiating itself from
    Christianity, it puts the self-deception that lies in moral concepts
    be hind it; it is, in my phrase,beyond good and evil.--The two
    physiological facts upon which it grounds itself and upon which it
    bestows its chief attention are: first, an excessive sensitiveness to
    sensation, which manifests itself as a refined susceptibility to pain,
    and secondly, an extraordinary spirituality, a too protracted concern
    with concepts and logical procedures, under the influence of which the
    instinct of personality has yielded to a notion of the "impersonal."
    (--Both of these states will be familiar to a few of my readers, the
    objectivists, by experience, as they are to me). These physiological
    states produced a depression, and Buddha tried to combat it by
    hygienic measures. Against it he prescribed a life in the open, a life
    of travel; moderation in eating and a careful selection of foods;
    caution in the use of intoxicants; the same caution in arousing any of
    the passions that foster a bilious habit and heat the blood; finally,
    no worry, either on one's own account or on account of others. He
    encourages ideas that make for either quiet contentment or good
    cheer--he finds means to combat ideas of other sorts. He understands
    good, the state of goodness, as something which promotes health.
    Prayer is not included, and neither is asceticism. There is no
    categorical imperative nor any disciplines, even within the walls of a
    monastery (--it is always possible to leave--). These things would
    have been simply means of increasing the excessive sensitiveness above
    mentioned. For the same reason he does not advocate any conflict with
    unbelievers; his teaching is antagonistic to nothing so much as to
    revenge, aversion, ressentiment (--"enmity never brings an end to
    enmity": the moving refrain of all Buddhism. . .) And in all this he
    was right, for it is precisely these passions which, in view of his
    main regiminal purpose, are unhealthful. The mental fatigue that he
    observes, already plainly displayed in too much "objectivity" (that
    is, in the individual's loss of interest in himself, in loss of
    balance and of "egoism"), he combats by strong efforts to lead even
    the spiritual interests back to the ego. In Buddha's teaching egoism
    is a duty. The "one thing needful," the question "how can you be
    delivered from suffering," regulates and determines the whole
    spiritual diet. (--Perhaps one will here recall that Athenian who also
    declared war upon pure "scientificality," to wit, Socrates, who also
    elevated egoism to the estate of a morality) .


    The things necessary to Buddhism are a very mild climate, customs of
    great gentleness and liberality, and no militarism; moreover, it must
    get its start among the higher and better educated classes.
    Cheerfulness, quiet and the absence of desire are the chief
    desiderata, and they are attained. Buddhism is not a religion in which
    perfection is merely an object of aspiration: perfection is actually
    normal.--Under Christianity the instincts of the subjugated and the
    oppressed come to the fore: it is only those who are at the bottom who
    seek their salvation in it. Here the prevailing pastime, the favourite
    remedy for boredom is the discussion of sin, self-criticism, the
    inquisition of conscience; here the emotion produced by power (called
    "God") is pumped up (by prayer); here the highest good is regarded as
    unattainable, as a gift, as "grace." Here, too, open dealing is
    lacking; concealment and the darkened room are Christian. Here body is
    despised and hygiene is denounced as sensual; the church even ranges
    itself against cleanliness (--the first Christian order after the
    banishment of the Moors closed the public baths, of which there were
    270 in Cordova alone) . Christian, too; is a certain cruelty toward
    one's self and toward others; hatred of unbelievers; the will to
    persecute. Sombre and disquieting ideas are in the foreground; the
    most esteemed states of mind, bearing the most respectable names are
    epileptoid; the diet is so regulated as to engender morbid symptoms
    and over-stimulate the nerves. Christian, again, is all deadly enmity
    to the rulers of the earth, to the "aristocratic"--along with a sort
    of secret rivalry with them (--one resigns one's "body" to them--one
    wantsonly one's "soul" . . . ).  And Christian is all hatred of the
    intellect, of pride, of courage of freedom, of intellectual
    libertinage; Christian is all hatred of the senses, of joy in the
    senses, of joy in general . . .


    When Christianity departed from its native soil, that of the lowest
    orders, the underworld of the ancient world, and began seeking power
    among barbarian peoples, it no longer had to deal with exhausted men,
    but with men still inwardly savage and capable of self torture--in
    brief, strong men, but bungled men. Here, unlike in the case of the
    Buddhists, the cause of discontent with self, suffering through self,
    is not merely a general sensitiveness and susceptibility to pain, but,
    on the contrary, an inordinate thirst for inflicting pain on others, a
    tendency to obtain subjective satisfaction in hostile deeds and ideas.
    Christianity had to embrace barbaric concepts and valuations in order
    to obtain mastery over barbarians: of such sort, for example, are the
    sacrifices of the first-born, the drinking of blood as a sacrament,
    the disdain of the intellect and of culture; torture in all its forms,
    whether bodily or not; the whole pomp of the cult. Buddhism is a
    religion for peoples in a further state of development, for races that
    have become kind, gentle and over-spiritualized (--Europe is not yet
    ripe for it--): it is a summons 'that takes them back to peace and
    cheerfulness, to a careful rationing of the spirit, to a certain
    hardening of the body. Christianity aims at mastering beasts of prey;
    its modus operandi is to make them ill--to make feeble is the
    Christian recipe for taming, for "civilizing." Buddhism is a religion
    for the closing, over-wearied stages of civilization. Christianity
    appears before civilization has so much as begun--under certain
    circumstances it lays the very foundations thereof.


    Buddhism, I repeat, is a hundred times more austere, more honest, more
    objective. It no longer has to justify its pains, its susceptibility
    to suffering, by interpreting these things in terms of sin--it simply
    says, as it simply thinks, "I suffer." To the barbarian, however,
    suffering in itself is scarcely understandable: what he needs, first
    of all, is an explanation as to why he suffers. (His mere instinct
    prompts him to deny his suffering altogether, or to endure it in
    silence.) Here the word "devil" was a blessing: man had to have an
    omnipotent and terrible enemy--there was no need to be ashamed of
    suffering at the hands of such an enemy.

    --At the bottom of Christianity there are several subtleties that
    belong to the Orient. In the first place, it knows that it is of very
    little consequence whether a thing be true or not, so long as it is
    believed to be true. Truth and faith: here we have two wholly distinct
    worlds of ideas, almost two diametrically opposite worlds--the road to
    the one and the road to the other lie miles apart. To understand that
    fact thoroughly--this is almost enough, in the Orient, to make one a
    sage. The Brahmins knew it, Plato knew it, every student of the
    esoteric knows it. When, for example, a man gets any pleasure out of
    the notion that he has been saved from sin, it is not necessary for
    him to be actually sinful, but merely to feel sinful. But when faith
    is thus exalted above everything else, it necessarily follows that
    reason, knowledge and patient inquiry have to be discredited: the road
    to the truth becomes a forbidden road.--Hope, in its stronger forms,
    is a great deal more powerful stimulans to life than any sort of
    realized joy can ever be. Man must be sustained in suffering by a hope
    so high that no conflict with actuality can dash it--so high, indeed,
    that no fulfillment can satisfy it: a hope reaching out beyond this
    world. (Precisely because of this power that hope has of making the
    suffering hold out, the Greeks regarded it as the evil of evils, as
    the most malign of evils; it remained behind at the source of all
    evil.)^3--In order that love may be possible, God must become a
    person; in order that the lower instincts may take a hand in the
    matter God must be young. To satisfy the ardor of the woman a
    beautiful saint must appear on the scene, and to satisfy that of the
    men there must be a virgin. These things are necessary if Christianity
    is to assume lordship over a soil on which some aphrodisiacal or
    Adonis cult has already established a notion as to what a cult ought
    to be. To insist upon chastity greatly strengthens the vehemence and
    subjectivity of the religious instinct--it makes the cult warmer, more
    enthusiastic, more soulful.--Love is the state in which man sees
    things most decidedly as they are not. The force of illusion reaches
    its highest here, and so does the capacity for sweetening, for
    transfiguring. When a man is in love he endures more than at any other
    time; he submits to anything. The problem was to devise a religion
    which would allow one to love: by this means the worst that life has
    to offer is overcome--it is scarcely even noticed.--So much for the
    three Christian virtues: faith, hope and charity: I call them the
    three Christian ingenuities.--Buddhism is in too late a stage of
    development, too full of positivism, to be shrewd in any such way.--


    Here I barely touch upon the problem of the origin of Christianity.
    The first thing necessary to its solution is this: that Christianity
    is to be understood only by examining the soil from which it
    sprung--it is not a reaction against Jewish instincts; it is their
    inevitable product; it is simply one more step in the awe-inspiring
    logic of the Jews. In the words of the Saviour, "salvation is of the
    Jews." ^4--The second thing to remember is this: that the
    psychological type of the Galilean is still to be recognized, but it
    was only in its most degenerate form (which is at once maimed and
    overladen with foreign features) that it could serve in the manner in
    which it has been used: as a type of the Saviour of mankind.

    --The Jews are the most remarkable people in the history of the world,
    for when they were confronted with the question, to be or not to be,
    they chose, with perfectly unearthly deliberation, to be at any price:
    this price involved a radical falsification of all nature, of all
    naturalness, of all reality, of the whole inner world, as well as of
    the outer. They put themselves against all those conditions under
    which, hitherto, a people had been able to live, or had even been
    permitted to live; out of themselves they evolved an idea which stood
    in direct opposition to natural conditions--one by one they distorted
    religion, civilization, morality, history and psychology until each
    became a contradiction of its natural significance. We meet with the
    same phenomenon later on, in an incalculably exaggerated form, but
    only as a copy: the Christian church, put beside the "people of God,"
    shows a complete lack of any claim to originality. Precisely for this
    reason the Jews are the most fateful people in the history of the
    world: their influence has so falsified the reasoning of mankind in
    this matter that today the Christian can cherish anti-Semitism without
    realizing that it is no more than the final consequence of Judaism.

    In my "Genealogy of Morals" I give the first psychological explanation
    of the concepts underlying those two antithetical things, a noble
    morality and a ressentiment morality, the second of which is a mere
    product of the denial of the former. The Judaeo-Christian moral system
    belongs to the second division, and in every detail. In order to be
    able to say Nay to everything representing an ascending evolution of
    life--that is, to well-being, to power, to beauty, to
    self-approval--the instincts of ressentiment, here become downright
    genius, had to invent an other world in which the acceptance of life
    appeared as the most evil and abominable thing imaginable.
    Psychologically, the Jews are a people gifted with the very strongest
    vitality, so much so that when they found themselves facing impossible
    conditions of life they chose voluntarily, and with a profound talent
    for self-preservation, the side of all those instincts which make for
    decadence--not as if mastered by them, but as if detecting in them a
    power by which "the world" could be defied. The Jews are the very
    opposite of decadents: they have simply been forced into appearing in
    that guise, and with a degree of skill approaching the non plus ultra
    of histrionic genius they have managed to put themselves at the head
    of all decadent movements (--for example, the Christianity of Paul--),
    and so make of them something stronger than any party frankly saying
    Yes to life. To the sort of men who reach out for power under Judaism
    and Christianity,--that is to say, to the priestly class-decadence is
    no more than a means to an end. Men of this sort have a vital interest
    in making mankind sick, and in confusing the values of "good" and
    "bad," "true" and "false" in a manner that is not only dangerous to
    life, but also slanders it.


    The history of Israel is invaluable as a typical history of an attempt
    to denaturize all natural values: I point to five facts which bear
    this out. Originally, and above all in the time of the monarchy,
    Israel maintained the right attitude of things, which is to say, the
    natural attitude. Its Jahveh was an expression of its consciousness of
    power, its joy in itself, its hopes for itself: to him the Jews looked
    for victory and salvation and through him they expected nature to give
    them whatever was necessary to their existence--above all, rain.
    Jahveh is the god of Israel, and consequently the god of justice: this
    is the logic of every race that has power in its hands and a good
    conscience in the use of it. In the religious ceremonial of the Jews
    both aspects of this self-approval stand revealed. The nation is
    grateful for the high destiny that has enabled it to obtain dominion;
    it is grateful for the benign procession of the seasons, and for the
    good fortune attending its herds and its crops.--This view of things
    remained an ideal for a long while, even after it had been robbed of
    validity by tragic blows: anarchy within and the Assyrian without. But
    the people still retained, as a projection of their highest yearnings,
    that vision of a king who was at once a gallant warrior and an upright
    judge--a vision best visualized in the typical prophet (i.e., critic
    and satirist of the moment), Isaiah. --But every hope remained
    unfulfilled. The old god no longer could do what he used to do. He
    ought to have been abandoned. But what actually happened? simply this:
    the conception of him was changed--the conception of him was
    denaturized; this was the price that had to be paid for keeping
    him.--Jahveh, the god of "justice"--he is in accord with Israel no
    more, he no longer visualizes the national egoism; he is now a god
    only conditionally. . . The public notion of this god now becomes
    merely a weapon in the hands of clerical agitators, who interpret all
    happiness as a reward and all unhappiness as a punishment for
    obedience or disobedience to him, for "sin": that most fraudulent of
    all imaginable interpretations, whereby a "moral order of the world"
    is set up, and the fundamental concepts, "cause" and "effect," are
    stood on their heads. Once natural causation has been swept out of the
    world by doctrines of reward and punishment some sort of unnatural
    causation becomes necessary: and all other varieties of the denial of
    nature follow it. A god who demands--in place of a god who helps, who
    gives counsel, who is at bottom merely a name for every happy
    inspiration of courage and self-reliance. . . Morality is no longer a
    reflection of the conditions which make for the sound life and
    development of the people; it is no longer the primary life-instinct;
    instead it has become abstract and in opposition to life--a
    fundamental perversion of the fancy, an "evil eye" on all things. What
    is Jewish, what is Christian morality? Chance robbed of its innocence;
    unhappiness polluted with the idea of "sin"; well-being represented as
    a danger, as a "temptation"; a physiological disorder produced by the
    canker worm of conscience...


    The concept of god falsified; the concept of morality falsified ;--but
    even here Jewish priest craft did not stop. The whole history of
    Israel ceased to be of any value: out with it!--These priests
    accomplished that miracle of falsification of which a great part of
    the Bible is the documentary evidence; with a degree of contempt
    unparalleled, and in the face of all tradition and all historical
    reality, they translated the past of their people into religious
    terms, which is to say, they converted it into an idiotic mechanism of
    salvation, whereby all offences against Jahveh were punished and all
    devotion to him was rewarded. We would regard this act of historical
    falsification as something far more shameful if familiarity with the
    ecclesiastical interpretation of history for thousands of years had
    not blunted our inclinations for uprightness in historicis. And the
    philosophers support the church: the lie about a "moral order of the
    world" runs through the whole of philosophy, even the newest. What is
    the meaning of a "moral order of the world"? That there is a thing
    called the will of God which, once and for all time, determines what
    man ought to do and what he ought not to do; that the worth of a
    people, or of an individual thereof, is to he measured by the extent
    to which they or he obey this will of God; that the destinies of a
    people or of an individual arecontrolled by this will of God, which
    rewards or punishes according to the degree of obedience
    manifested.--In place of all that pitiable lie reality has this to
    say: the priest, a parasitical variety of man who can exist only at
    the cost of every sound view of life, takes the name of God in vain:
    he calls that state of human society in which he himself determines
    the value of all things "the kingdom of God"; he calls the means
    whereby that state of affairs is attained "the will of God"; with
    cold-blooded cynicism he estimates all peoples, all ages and all
    individuals by the extent of their subservience or opposition to the
    power of the priestly order. One observes him at work: under the hand
    of the Jewish priesthood the great age of Israel became an age of
    decline; the Exile, with its long series of misfortunes, was
    transformed into a punishment for that great age-during which priests
    had not yet come into existence. Out of the powerful and wholly free
    heroes of Israel's history they fashioned, according to their changing
    needs, either wretched bigots and hypocrites or men entirely
    "godless." They reduced every great event to the idiotic formula:
    "obedient or disobedient to God."--They went a step further: the "will
    of God" (in other words some means necessary for preserving the power
    of the priests) had to be determined--and to this end they had to have
    a "revelation." In plain English, a gigantic literary fraud had to be
    perpetrated, and "holy scriptures" had to be concocted--and so, with
    the utmost hierarchical pomp, and days of penance and much lamentation
    over the long days of "sin" now ended, they were duly published. The
    "will of God," it appears, had long stood like a rock; the trouble was
    that mankind had neglected the "holy scriptures".  . . But the ''will
    of God'' had already been revealed to Moses. . . . What happened?
    Simply this: the priest had formulated, once and for all time and with
    the strictest meticulousness, what tithes were to be paid to him, from
    the largest to the smallest (--not forgetting the most appetizing cuts
    of meat, for the priest is a great consumer of beefsteaks); in brief,
    he let it be known just what he wanted, what "the will of God" was....
    From this time forward things were so arranged that the priest became
    indispensable everywhere; at all the great natural events of life, at
    birth, at marriage, in sickness, at death, not to say at the
    "sacrifice" (that is, at meal-times), the holy parasite put in his
    appearance, and proceeded to denaturize it--in his own phrase, to
    "sanctify" it. . . . For this should be noted: that every natural
    habit, every natural institution (the state, the administration of
    justice, marriage, the care of the sick and of the poor), everything
    demanded by the life-instinct, in short, everything that has any value
    in itself, is reduced to absolute worthlessness and even made the
    reverse of valuable by the parasitism of priests (or, if you chose, by
    the "moral order of the world"). The fact requires a sanction--a power
    to grant values becomes necessary, and the only way it can create such
    values is by denying nature. . . . The priest depreciates and
    desecrates nature: it is only at this price that he can exist at
    all.--Disobedience to God, which actually means to the priest, to "the
    law," now gets the name of "sin"; the means prescribed for
    "reconciliation with God" are, of course, precisely the means which
    bring one most effectively under the thumb of the priest; he alone can
    "save". Psychologically considered, "sins" are indispensable to every
    society organized on an ecclesiastical basis; they are the only
    reliable weapons of power; the priest lives upon sins; it is necessary
    to him that there be "sinning". . . . Prime axiom: "God forgiveth him
    that repenteth"--in plain English, him that submitteth to the priest.


    Christianity sprang from a soil so corrupt that on it everything
    natural, every natural value, every reality was opposed by the deepest
    instincts of the ruling class--it grew up as a sort of war to the
    death upon reality, and as such it has never been surpassed. The "holy
    people," who had adopted priestly values and priestly names for all
    things, and who, with a terrible logical consistency, had rejected
    everything of the earth as "unholy," "worldly," "sinful"--this people
    put its instinct into a final formula that was logical to the point of
    self-annihilation: asChristianity it actually denied even the last
    form of reality, the "holy people," the "chosen people," Jewish
    reality itself. The phenomenon is of the first order of importance:
    the small insurrectionary movement which took the name of Jesus of
    Nazareth is simply the Jewish instinct redivivus--in other words, it
    is the priestly instinct come to such a pass that it can no longer
    endure the priest as a fact; it is the discovery of a state of
    existence even more fantastic than any before it, of a vision of life
    even more unreal than that necessary to an ecclesiastical
    organization. Christianity actually denies the church...

    I am unable to determine what was the target of the insurrection said
    to have been led (whether rightly or wrongly) by Jesus, if it was not
    the Jewish church--"church" being here used in exactly the same sense
    that the word has today. It was an insurrection against the "good and
    just," against the "prophets of Israel," against the whole hierarchy
    of society--not against corruption, but against caste, privilege,
    order, formalism. It was unbelief in "superior men," a Nay flung at
    everything that priests and theologians stood for. But the hierarchy
    that was called into question, if only for an instant, by this
    movement was the structure of piles which, above everything, was
    necessary to the safety of the Jewish people in the midst of the
    "waters"--it represented theirlast possibility of survival; it was the
    final residuum of their independent political existence; an attack
    upon it was an attack upon the most profound national instinct, the
    most powerful national will to live, that has ever appeared on earth.
    This saintly anarchist, who aroused the people of the abyss, the
    outcasts and "sinners," the Chandala of Judaism, to rise in revolt
    against the established order of things--and in language which, if the
    Gospels are to be credited, would get him sent to Siberia today--this
    man was certainly a political criminal, at least in so far as it was
    possible to be one in so absurdly unpolitical a community. This is
    what brought him to the cross: the proof thereof is to be found in the
    inscription that was put upon the cross. He died for his own
    sins--there is not the slightest ground for believing, no matter how
    often it is asserted, that he died for the sins of others.--


    As to whether he himself was conscious of this contradiction--whether,
    in fact, this was the only contradiction he was cognizant of--that is
    quite another question. Here, for the first time, I touch upon the
    problem of the psychology of the Saviour.--I confess, to begin with,
    that there are very few books which offer me harder reading than the
    Gospels. My difficulties are quite different from those which enabled
    the learned curiosity of the German mind to achieve one of its most
    unforgettable triumphs. It is a long while since I, like all other
    young scholars, enjoyed with all the sapient laboriousness of a
    fastidious philologist the work of the incomparable Strauss.^5At that
    time I was twenty years old: now I am too serious for that sort of
    thing. What do I care for the contradictions of "tradition"? How can
    any one call pious legends "traditions"? The histories of saints
    present the most dubious variety of literature in existence; to
    examine them by the scientific method, in the entire absence of
    corroborative documents, seems to me to condemn the whole inquiry from
    the start--it is simply learned idling.


    What concerns me is the psychological type of the Saviour. This type
    might be depicted in the Gospels, in however mutilated a form and
    however much overladen with extraneous characters--that is, in spite
    of the Gospels; just as the figure of Francis of Assisi shows itself
    in his legends in spite of his legends. It is not a question of mere
    truthful evidence as to what he did, what he said and how he actually
    died; the question is, whether his type is still conceivable, whether
    it has been handed down to us.--All the attempts that I know of to
    read the history of a "soul" in the Gospels seem to me to reveal only
    a lamentable psychological levity. M. Renan, that mountebank in
    psychologicus, has contributed the two most unseemly notions to this
    business of explaining the type of Jesus: the notion of the genius and
    that of the hero ("heros"). But if there is anything essentially
    unevangelical, it is surely the concept of the hero. What the Gospels
    make instinctive is precisely the reverse of all heroic struggle, of
    all taste for conflict: the very incapacity for resistance is here
    converted into something moral: ("resist not evil !"--the most
    profound sentence in the Gospels, perhaps the true key to them), to
    wit, the blessedness of peace, of gentleness, the inability to be an
    enemy. What is the meaning of "glad tidings"?--The true life, the life
    eternal has been found--it is not merely promised, it is here, it is
    in you; it is the life that lies in love free from all retreats and
    exclusions, from all keeping of distances. Every one is the child of
    God--Jesus claims nothing for himself alone--as the child of God each
    man is the equal of every other man. . . .Imagine making Jesus a
    hero!--And what a tremendous misunderstanding appears in the word
    "genius"! Our whole conception of the "spiritual," the whole
    conception of our civilization, could have had no meaning in the world
    that Jesus lived in. In the strict sense of the physiologist, a quite
    different word ought to be used here. . . . We all know that there is
    a morbid sensibility of the tactile nerves which causes those
    suffering from it to recoil from every touch, and from every effort to
    grasp a solid object. Brought to its logical conclusion, such a
    physiological habitus becomes an instinctive hatred of all reality, a
    flight into the "intangible," into the "incomprehensible"; a distaste
    for all formulae, for all conceptions of time and space, for
    everything established--customs, institutions, the church--; a feeling
    of being at home in a world in which no sort of reality survives, a
    merely "inner" world, a "true" world, an "eternal" world. . . . "The
    Kingdom of God is withinyou". . . .


    The instinctive hatred of reality: the consequence of an extreme
    susceptibility to pain and irritation--so great that merely to be
    "touched" becomes unendurable, for every sensation is too profound.

    The instinctive exclusion of all aversion, all hostility, all bounds
    and distances in feeling: the consequence of an extreme susceptibility
    to pain and irritation--so great that it senses all resistance, all
    compulsion to resistance, as unbearable anguish (--that is to say, as
    harmful, as prohibited by the instinct of self-preservation), and
    regards blessedness (joy) as possible only when it is no longer
    necessary to offer resistance to anybody or anything, however evil or
    dangerous--love, as the only, as the ultimate possibility of life. . .

    These are the two physiological realities upon and out of which the
    doctrine of salvation has sprung. I call them a sublime
    super-development of hedonism upon a thoroughly unsalubrious soil.
    What stands most closely related to them, though with a large
    admixture of Greek vitality and nerve-force, is epicureanism, the
    theory of salvation of paganism. Epicurus was a typical decadent: I
    was the first to recognize him.--The fear of pain, even of infinitely
    slight pain--the end of this can be nothing save a religion of love. .
    . .


    I have already given my answer to the problem. The prerequisite to it
    is the assumption that the type of the Saviour has reached us only in
    a greatly distorted form. This distortion is very probable: there are
    many reasons why a type of that sort should not be handed down in a
    pure form, complete and free of additions. The milieu in which this
    strange figure moved must have left marks upon him, and more must have
    been imprinted by the history, the destiny, of the early Christian
    communities; the latter indeed, must have embellished the type
    retrospectively with characters which can be understood only as
    serving the purposes of war and of propaganda. That strange and sickly
    world into which the Gospels lead us--a world apparently out of a
    Russian novel, in which the scum of society, nervous maladies and
    "childish" idiocy keep a tryst--must, in any case, have coarsened the
    type: the first disciples, in particular, must have been forced to
    translate an existence visible only in symbols and
    incomprehensibilities into their own crudity, in order to understand
    it at all--in their sight the type could take on reality only after it
    had been recast in a familiar mould.... The prophet, the messiah, the
    future judge, the teacher of morals, the worker of wonders, John the
    Baptist--all these merely presented chances to misunderstand it . . .
    . Finally, let us not underrate the proprium of all great, and
    especially all sectarian veneration: it tends to erase from the
    venerated objects all its original traits and idiosyncrasies, often so
    painfully strange--it does not even see them. It is greatly to be
    regretted that no Dostoyevsky lived in the neighbourhood of this most
    interesting decadent--I mean some one who would have felt the poignant
    charm of such a compound of the sublime, the morbid and the childish.
    In the last analysis, the type, as a type of the decadence, may
    actually have been peculiarly complex and contradictory: such a
    possibility is not to be lost sight of. Nevertheless, the
    probabilities seem to be against it, for in that case tradition would
    have been particularly accurate and objective, whereas we have reasons
    for assuming the contrary. Meanwhile, there is a contradiction between
    the peaceful preacher of the mount, the sea-shore and the fields, who
    appears like a new Buddha on a soil very unlike India's, and the
    aggressive fanatic, the mortal enemy of theologians and ecclesiastics,
    who stands glorified by Renan's malice as "le grand maitre en ironie."
    I myself haven't any doubt that the greater part of this venom (and no
    less of esprit) got itself into the concept of the Master only as a
    result of the excited nature of Christian propaganda: we all know the
    unscrupulousness of sectarians when they set out to turn their leader
    into an apologia for themselves. When the early Christians had need of
    an adroit, contentious, pugnacious and maliciously subtle theologian
    to tackle other theologians, they created a "god" that met that need,
    just as they put into his mouth without hesitation certain ideas that
    were necessary to them but that were utterly at odds with the
    Gospels--"the second coming," "the last judgment," all sorts of
    expectations and promises, current at the time.--


    I can only repeat that I set myself against all efforts to intrude the
    fanatic into the figure of the Saviour: the very word imperieux, used
    by Renan, is alone enough to annul the type. What the "glad tidings"
    tell us is simply that there are no more contradictions; the kingdom
    of heaven belongs to children; the faith that is voiced here is no
    more an embattled faith--it is at hand, it has been from the
    beginning, it is a sort of recrudescent childishness of the spirit.
    The physiologists, at all events, are familiar with such a delayed and
    incomplete puberty in the living organism, the result of degeneration.
    A faith of this sort is not furious, it does not denounce, it does not
    defend itself: it does not come with "the sword"--it does not realize
    how it will one day set man against man. It does not manifest itself
    either by miracles, or by rewards and promises, or by "scriptures": it
    is itself, first and last, its own miracle, its own reward, its own
    promise, its own "kingdom of God." This faith does not formulate
    itself--it simply lives, and so guards itself against formulae. To be
    sure, the accident of environment, of educational background gives
    prominence to concepts of a certain sort: in primitive Christianity
    one finds only concepts of a Judaeo--Semitic character (--that of
    eating and drinking at the last supper belongs to this category--an
    idea which, like everything else Jewish, has been badly mauled by the
    church). But let us be careful not to see in all this anything more
    than symbolical language, semantics^6 an opportunity to speak in
    parables. It is only on the theory that no work is to be taken
    literally that this anti-realist is able to speak at all. Set down
    among Hindus he would have made use of the concepts of Sankhya,^7and
    among Chinese he would have employed those of Lao-tse ^8--and in
    neither case would it have made any difference to him.--With a little
    freedom in the use of words, one might actually call Jesus a "free
    spirit"^9--he cares nothing for what is established: the word
    killeth,^10 a whatever is established killeth. 'The idea of "life" as
    an experience, as he alone conceives it, stands opposed to his mind to
    every sort of word, formula, law, belief and dogma. He speaks only of
    inner things: "life" or "truth" or "light" is his word for the
    innermost--in his sight everything else, the whole of reality, all
    nature, even language, has significance only as sign, as allegory.
    --Here it is of paramount importance to be led into no error by the
    temptations lying in Christian, or rather ecclesiastical prejudices:
    such a symbolism par excellence stands outside all religion, all
    notions of worship, all history, all natural science, all worldly
    experience, all knowledge, all politics, all psychology, all books,
    all art--his "wisdom" is precisely a pure ignorance^11 of all such
    things. He has never heard of culture; he doesn't have to make war on
    it--he doesn't even deny it. . . The same thing may be said of the
    state, of the whole bourgeoise social order, of labour, of war--he has
    no ground for denying" the world," for he knows nothing of the
    ecclesiastical concept of "the world" . . . Denial is precisely the
    thing that is impossible to him.--In the same way he lacks
    argumentative capacity, and has no belief that an article of faith, a
    "truth," may be established by proofs (--his proofs are inner
    "lights," subjective sensations of happiness and self-approval, simple
    "proofs of power"--). Such a doctrine cannot contradict: it doesn't
    know that other doctrines exist, or can exist, and is wholly incapable
    of imagining anything opposed to it. . . If anything of the sort is
    ever encountered, it laments the "blindness" with sincere
    sympathy--for it alone has "light"--but it does not offer objections .
    . .


    In the whole psychology of the "Gospels" the concepts of guilt and
    punishment are lacking, and so is that of reward. "Sin," which means
    anything that puts a distance between God and man, is abolished--this
    is precisely the "glad tidings." Eternal bliss is not merely promised,
    nor is it bound up with conditions: it is conceived as the only
    reality--what remains consists merely of signs useful in speaking of

    The results of such a point of view project themselves into a new way
    of life, the special evangelical way of life. It is not a "belief"
    that marks off the Christian; he is distinguished by a different mode
    of action; he acts differently. He offers no resistance, either by
    word or in his heart, to those who stand against him. He draws no
    distinction between strangers and countrymen, Jews and Gentiles
    ("neighbour," of course, means fellow-believer, Jew). He is angry with
    no one, and he despises no one. He neither appeals to the courts of
    justice nor heeds their mandates ("Swear not at all") .^12 He never
    under any circumstances divorces his wife, even when he has proofs of
    her infidelity.--And under all of this is one principle; all of it
    arises from one instinct.--

    The life of the Saviour was simply a carrying out of this way of
    life--and so was his death. . . He no longer needed any formula or
    ritual in his relations with God--not even prayer. He had rejected the
    whole of the Jewish doctrine of repentance and atonement; he knew that
    it was only by a way of life that one could feel one's self "divine,"
    "blessed," "evangelical," a "child of God."Not by "repentance,"not by
    "prayer and forgiveness" is the way to God: only the Gospel way leads
    to God--it is itself "God!"--What the Gospels abolished was the
    Judaism in the concepts of "sin," "forgiveness of sin," "faith,"
    "salvation through faith"--the wholeecclesiastical dogma of the Jews
    was denied by the "glad tidings."

    The deep instinct which prompts the Christian how to live so that he
    will feel that he is "in heaven" and is "immortal," despite many
    reasons for feeling that he isnot "in heaven": this is the only
    psychological reality in "salvation."--A new way of life, not a new


    If I understand anything at all about this great symbolist, it is
    this: that he regarded only subjective realities as realities, as
    "truths"--hat he saw everything else, everything natural, temporal,
    spatial and historical, merely as signs, as materials for parables.
    The concept of "the Son of God" does not connote a concrete person in
    history, an isolated and definite individual, but an "eternal" fact, a
    psychological symbol set free from the concept of time. The same thing
    is true, and in the highest sense, of the God of this typical
    symbolist, of the "kingdom of God," and of the "sonship of God."
    Nothing could he more un-Christian than the crude ecclesiastical
    notions of God as a person, of a "kingdom of God" that is to come, of
    a "kingdom of heaven" beyond, and of a "son of God" as the second
    person of the Trinity. All this--if I may be forgiven the phrase--is
    like thrusting one's fist into the eye (and what an eye!) of the
    Gospels: a disrespect for symbols amounting to world-historical
    cynicism. . . .But it is nevertheless obvious enough what is meant by
    the symbols "Father" and "Son"--not, of course, to every one--: the
    word "Son" expresses entrance into the feeling that there is a general
    transformation of all things (beatitude), and "Father" expresses that
    feeling itself--the sensation of eternity and of perfection.--I am
    ashamed to remind you of what the church has made of this symbolism:
    has it not set an Amphitryon story^13 at the threshold of the
    Christian "faith"? And a dogma of "immaculate conception" for good
    measure? . . --And thereby it has robbed conception of its

    The "kingdom of heaven" is a state of the heart--not something to come
    "beyond the world" or "after death." The whole idea of natural death
    is absent from the Gospels: death is not a bridge, not a passing; it
    is absent because it belongs to a quite different, a merely apparent
    world, useful only as a symbol. The "hour of death" isnot a Christian
    idea--"hours," time, the physical life and its crises have no
    existence for the bearer of "glad tidings." . . .

    The "kingdom of God" is not something that men wait for: it had no
    yesterday and no day after tomorrow, it is not going to come at a
    "millennium"--it is an experience of the heart, it is everywhere and
    it is nowhere. . . .


    This "bearer of glad tidings" died as he lived and taught--not to
    "save mankind," but to show mankind how to live. It was a way of life
    that he bequeathed to man: his demeanour before the judges, before the
    officers, before his accusers--his demeanour on the cross. He does not
    resist; he does not defend his rights; he makes no effort to ward off
    the most extreme penalty--more, he invites it. . . And he prays,
    suffers and loves with those, in those, who do him evil . . . Not to
    defend one's self, not to show anger, not to lay blames. . . On the
    contrary, to submit even to the Evil One--to love him. . . .


    --We free spirits--we are the first to have the necessary prerequisite
    to understanding what nineteen centuries have misunderstood--that
    instinct and passion for integrity which makes war upon the "holy lie"
    even more than upon all other lies. . . Mankind was unspeakably far
    from our benevolent and cautious neutrality, from that discipline of
    the spirit which alone makes possible the solution of such strange and
    subtle things: what men always sought, with shameless egoism, was
    their own advantage therein; they created the church out of denial of
    the Gospels. . . .

    Whoever sought for signs of an ironical divinity's hand in the great
    drama of existence would find no small indication thereof in the
    stupendous question-mark that is called Christianity. That mankind
    should be on its knees before the very antithesis of what was the
    origin, the meaning and the law of the Gospels--that in the concept of
    the "church" the very things should be pronounced holy that the
    "bearer of glad tidings" regards as beneath him and behind him--it
    would be impossible to surpass this as a grand example of
    world-historical irony--


    --Our age is proud of its historical sense: how, then, could it delude
    itself into believing that the crude fable of the wonder-worker and
    Saviour constituted the beginnings of Christianity--and that
    everything spiritual and symbolical in it only came later? Quite to
    the contrary, the whole history of Christianity--from the death on the
    cross onward--is the history of a progressively clumsier
    misunderstanding of an original symbolism. With every extension of
    Christianity among larger and ruder masses, even less capable of
    grasping the principles that gave birth to it, the need arose to make
    it more and more vulgar and barbarous--it absorbed the teachings and
    rites of all the subterranean cults of the imperium Romanum, and the
    absurdities engendered by all sorts of sickly reasoning. It was the
    fate of Christianity that its faith had to become as sickly, as low
    and as vulgar as the needs were sickly, low and vulgar to which it had
    to administer. A sickly barbarism finally lifts itself to power as the
    church--the church, that incarnation of deadly hostility to all
    honesty, to all loftiness of soul, to all discipline of the spirit, to
    all spontaneous and kindly humanity.--Christian values--noble values:
    it is only we, we free spirits, who have re-established this greatest
    of all antitheses in values!. . . .


    --I cannot, at this place, avoid a sigh. There are days when I am
    visited by a feeling blacker than the blackest melancholy--contempt of
    man. Let me leave no doubt as to what I despise, whom I despise: it is
    the man of today, the man with whom I am unhappily contemporaneous.
    The man of today--I am suffocated by his foul breath! . . . Toward the
    past, like all who understand, I am full of tolerance, which is to
    say, generous self-control: with gloomy caution I pass through whole
    millenniums of this mad house of a world, call it "Christianity,"
    "Christian faith" or the "Christian church," as you will--I take care
    not to hold mankind responsible for its lunacies. But my feeling
    changes and breaks out irresistibly the moment I enter modern
    times,our times. Our age knows better. . . What was formerly merely
    sickly now becomes indecent--it is indecent to be a Christian today.
    And here my disgust begins.--I look about me: not a word survives of
    what was once called "truth"; we can no longer bear to hear a priest
    pronounce the word. Even a man who makes the most modest pretensions
    to integrity must know that a theologian, a priest, a pope of today
    not only errs when he speaks, but actually lies--and that he no longer
    escapes blame for his lie through "innocence" or "ignorance." The
    priest knows, as every one knows, that there is no longer any "God,"
    or any "sinner," or any "Saviour"--that "free will" and the "moral
    order of the world" are lies--: serious reflection, the profound
    self-conquest of the spirit,allow no man to pretend that he does not
    know it. . . All the ideas of the church are now recognized for what
    they are--as the worst counterfeits in existence, invented to debase
    nature and all natural values; the priest himself is seen as he
    actually is--as the most dangerous form of parasite, as the venomous
    spider of creation. . - - We know, our conscience now knows--just what
    the real value of all those sinister inventions of priest and church
    has been and what ends they have served, with their debasement of
    humanity to a state of self-pollution, the very sight of which excites
    loathing,--the concepts "the other world," "the last judgment," "the
    immortality of the soul," the "soul" itself: they are all merely so
    many in instruments of torture, systems of cruelty, whereby the priest
    becomes master and remains master. . .Every one knows this,but
    nevertheless things remain as before. What has become of the last
    trace of decent feeling, of self-respect, when our statesmen,
    otherwise an unconventional class of men and thoroughly anti-Christian
    in their acts, now call themselves Christians and go to the communion
    table? . . . A prince at the head of his armies, magnificent as the
    expression of the egoism and arrogance of his people--and yet
    acknowledging, without any shame, that he is a Christian! . . . Whom,
    then, does Christianity deny? what does it call "the world"? To be a
    soldier, to be a judge, to be a patriot; to defend one's self; to be
    careful of one's honour; to desire one's own advantage; to be proud .
    . . every act of everyday, every instinct, every valuation that shows
    itself in a deed, is now anti-Christian: what a monster of falsehood
    the modern man must be to call himself nevertheless, and without
    shame, a Christian!--


    --I shall go back a bit, and tell you the authentic history of
    Christianity.--The very word "Christianity" is a misunderstanding--at
    bottom there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross. The
    "Gospels" died on the cross. What, from that moment onward, was called
    the "Gospels" was the very reverse of what he had lived: "bad
    tidings," a Dysangelium.^14It is an error amounting to nonsensicality
    to see in "faith," and particularly in faith in salvation through
    Christ, the distinguishing mark of the Christian: only the Christian
    way of life, the life lived by him who died on the cross, is
    Christian. . . To this day such a life is still possible, and for
    certain men even necessary: genuine, primitive Christianity will
    remain possible in all ages. . . . Not faith, but acts; above all, an
    avoidance of acts, a different state of being. . . . States of
    consciousness, faith of a sort, the acceptance, for example, of
    anything as true--as every psychologist knows, the value of these
    things is perfectly indifferent and fifth-rate compared to that of the
    instincts: strictly speaking, the whole concept of intellectual
    causality is false. To reduce being a Christian, the state of
    Christianity, to an acceptance of truth, to a mere phenomenon of
    consciousness, is to formulate the negation of Christianity. In fact,
    there are no Christians. The "Christian"--he who for two thousand
    years has passed as a Christian--is simply a psychological
    self-delusion. Closely examined, it appears that, despite all his
    "faith," he has been ruled only by his instincts--and what
    instincts!--In all ages--for example, in the case of Luther--"faith"
    has been no more than a cloak, a pretense, a curtain behind which the
    instincts have played their game--a shrewd blindness to the domination
    of certain of the instincts . . .I have already called "faith" the
    specially Christian form of shrewdness--people always talk of their
    "faith" and act according to their instincts. . . In the world of
    ideas of the Christian there is nothing that so much as touches
    reality: on the contrary, one recognizes an instinctive hatred of
    reality as the motive power, the only motive power at the bottom of
    Christianity. What follows therefrom? That even here, in
    psychologicis, there is a radical error, which is to say one
    conditioning fundamentals, which is to say, one in substance. Take
    away one idea and put a genuine reality in its place--and the whole of
    Christianity crumbles to nothingness !--Viewed calmly, this strangest
    of all phenomena, a religion not only depending on errors, but
    inventive and ingenious only in devising injurious errors, poisonous
    to life and to the heart--this remains a spectacle for the gods--for
    those gods who are also philosophers, and whom I have encountered, for
    example, in the celebrated dialogues at Naxos. At the moment when
    their disgust leaves them (--and us!) they will be thankful for the
    spectacle afforded by the Christians: perhaps because of this curious
    exhibition alone the wretched little planet called the earth deserves
    a glance from omnipotence, a show of divine interest. . . . Therefore,
    let us not underestimate the Christians: the Christian, false to the
    point of innocence, is far above the ape--in its application to the
    Christians a well--known theory of descent becomes a mere piece of
    politeness. . . .


    --The fate of the Gospels was decided by death--it hung on the
    "cross.". . . It was only death, that unexpected and shameful death;
    it was only the cross, which was usually reserved for the canaille
    only--it was only this appalling paradox which brought the disciples
    face to face with the real riddle: "Who was it? what was it?"--The
    feeling of dismay, of profound affront and injury; the suspicion that
    such a death might involve a refutation of their cause; the terrible
    question, "Why just in this way?"--this state of mind is only too easy
    to understand. Here everything must be accounted for as necessary;
    everything must have a meaning, a reason, the highest sort of reason;
    the love of a disciple excludes all chance. Only then did the chasm of
    doubt yawn: "Who put him to death? who was his natural enemy?"--this
    question flashed like a lightning-stroke. Answer: dominant Judaism,
    its ruling class. From that moment, one found one's self in revolt
    against the established order, and began to understand Jesus as in
    revolt against the established order. Until then this militant, this
    nay-saying, nay-doing element in his character had been lacking; what
    is more, he had appeared to present its opposite. Obviously, the
    little community had not understood what was precisely the most
    important thing of all: the example offered by this way of dying, the
    freedom from and superiority to every feeling of ressentiment--a plain
    indication of how little he was understood at all! All that Jesus
    could hope to accomplish by his death, in itself, was to offer the
    strongest possible proof, or example, of his teachings in the most
    public manner. But his disciples were very far from forgiving his
    death--though to have done so would have accorded with the Gospels in
    the highest degree; and neither were they prepared to offer
    themselves, with gentle and serene calmness of heart, for a similar
    death. . . . On the contrary, it was precisely the most unevangelical
    of feelings, revenge, that now possessed them. It seemed impossible
    that the cause should perish with his death: "recompense" and
    "judgment" became necessary (--yet what could be less evangelical than
    "recompense," "punishment," and "sitting in judgment"!) --Once more
    the popular belief in the coming of a messiah appeared in the
    foreground; attention was riveted upon an historical moment: the
    "kingdom of God" is to come, with judgment upon his enemies. . . But
    in all this there was a wholesale misunderstanding: imagine the
    "kingdom of God" as a last act, as a mere promise! The Gospels had
    been, in fact, the incarnation, the fulfillment, therealization of
    this "kingdom of God." It was only now that all the familiar contempt
    for and bitterness against Pharisees and theologians began to appear
    in the character of the Master was thereby turned into a Pharisee and
    theologian himself! On the other hand, the savage veneration of these
    completely unbalanced souls could no longer endure the Gospel
    doctrine, taught by Jesus, of the equal right of all men to be
    children of God: their revenge took the form of elevating Jesus in an
    extravagant fashion, and thus separating him from themselves: just as,
    in earlier times, the Jews, to revenge themselves upon their enemies,
    separated themselves from their God, and placed him on a great height.
    The One God and the Only Son of God: both were products of resentment
    . . . .


    --And from that time onward an absurd problem offered itself: "how
    could God allow it!" To which the deranged reason of the little
    community formulated an answer that was terrifying in its absurdity:
    God gave his son as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. At once
    there was an end of the gospels! Sacrifice for sin, and in its most
    obnoxious and barbarous form: sacrifice of the innocent for the sins
    of the guilty! What appalling paganism !--Jesus himself had done away
    with the very concept of "guilt," he denied that there was any gulf
    fixed between God and man; he lived this unity between God and man,
    and that was precisely his "glad tidings". . . And not as a mere
    privilege!--From this time forward the type of the Saviour was
    corrupted, bit by bit, by the doctrine of judgment and of the second
    coming, the doctrine of death as a sacrifice, the doctrine of the
    resurrection, by means of which the entire concept of "blessedness,"
    the whole and only reality of the gospels, is juggled away--in favour
    of a state of existence after death! . . . St. Paul, with that
    rabbinical impudence which shows itself in all his doings, gave a
    logical quality to that conception, that indecent conception, in this
    way: "If Christ did not rise from the dead, then all our faith is in
    vain!"--And at once there sprang from the Gospels the most
    contemptible of all unfulfillable promises, the shameless doctrine of
    personal immortality. . . Paul even preached it as a reward . . .


    One now begins to see just what it was that came to an end with the
    death on the cross: a new and thoroughly original effort to found a
    Buddhistic peace movement, and so establish happiness on earth--real,
    not merely promised. For this remains--as I have already pointed
    out--the essential difference between the two religions of decadence:
    Buddhism promises nothing, but actually fulfills; Christianity
    promises everything, but fulfills nothing.--Hard upon the heels of the
    "glad tidings" came the worst imaginable: those of Paul. In Paul is
    incarnated the very opposite of the "bearer of glad tidings"; he
    represents the genius for hatred, the vision of hatred, the relentless
    logic of hatred. What, indeed, has not this dysangelist sacrificed to
    hatred! Above all, the Saviour: he nailed him to his own cross. The
    life, the example, the teaching, the death of Christ, the meaning and
    the law of the whole gospels--nothing was left of all this after that
    counterfeiter in hatred had reduced it to his uses. Surely not
    reality; surely not historical truth! . . . Once more the priestly
    instinct of the Jew perpetrated the same old master crime against
    history--he simply struck out the yesterday and the day before
    yesterday of Christianity, and invented his own history of  Christian
    beginnings. Going further, he treated the history of Israel to another
    falsification, so that it became a mere prologue to his achievement:
    all the prophets, it now appeared, had referred to his "Saviour." . .
    . Later on the church even falsified the history of man in order to
    make it a prologue to Christianity . . . The figure of the Saviour,
    his teaching, his way of life, his death, the meaning of his death,
    even the consequences of his death--nothing remained untouched,
    nothing remained in even remote contact with reality. Paul simply
    shifted the centre of gravity of that whole life to a place behind
    this existence--in the lie of the "risen" Jesus. At bottom, he had no
    use for the life of the Saviour--what he needed was the death on the
    cross, and something more. To see anything honest in such a man as
    Paul, whose home was at the centre of the Stoical enlightenment, when
    he converts an hallucination into a proof of the resurrection of the
    Saviour, or even to believe his tale that he suffered from this
    hallucination himself--this would be a genuine niaiserie in a
    psychologist. Paul willed the end; therefore he also willed the means.
    --What he himself didn't believe was swallowed readily enough by the
    idiots among whom he spread his teaching.--What he wanted was power;
    in Paul the priest once more reached out for power--he had use only
    for such concepts, teachings and symbols as served the purpose of
    tyrannizing over the masses and organizing mobs. What was the only
    part of Christianity that Mohammed borrowed later on? Paul's
    invention, his device for establishing priestly tyranny and organizing
    the mob: the belief in the immortality of the soul--that is to say,
    the doctrine of "judgment".


    When the centre of gravity of life is placed, not in life itself, but
    in "the beyond"--in nothingness--then one has taken away its centre of
    gravity altogether. The vast lie of personal immortality destroys all
    reason, all natural instinct--henceforth, everything in the instincts
    that is beneficial, that fosters life and that safeguards the future
    is a cause of suspicion. So to live that life no longer has any
    meaning: this is now the "meaning" of life. . . . Why be
    public-spirited? Why take any pride in descent and forefathers? Why
    labour together, trust one another, or concern one's self about the
    common welfare, and try to serve it? . . .  Merely so many
    "temptations," so many strayings from the "straight path."--"One thing
    only is necessary". . . That every man, because he has an "immortal
    soul," is as good as every other man; that in an infinite universe of
    things the "salvation" of every individual may lay claim to eternal
    importance; that insignificant bigots and the three-fourths insane may
    assume that the laws of nature are constantly suspended in their
    behalf--it is impossible to lavish too much contempt upon such a
    magnification of every sort of selfishness to infinity, to insolence.
    And yet Christianity has to thank precisely this miserable flattery of
    personal vanity for its triumph--it was thus that it lured all the
    botched, the dissatisfied, the fallen upon evil days, the whole refuse
    and off-scouring of humanity to its side. The "salvation of the
    soul"--in plain English: "the world revolves around me." . . . The
    poisonous doctrine, "equal rights for all," has been propagated as a
    Christian principle: out of the secret nooks and crannies of bad
    instinct Christianity has waged a deadly war upon all feelings of
    reverence and distance between man and man, which is to say, upon the
    first prerequisite to every step upward, to every development of
    civilization--out of the ressentiment of the masses it has forged its
    chief weapons against us, against everything noble, joyous and high
    spirited on earth, against our happiness on earth . . .  To allow
    "immortality" to every Peter and Paul was the greatest, the most
    vicious outrage upon noble humanity ever perpetrated.--And let us not
    underestimate the fatal influence that Christianity has had, even upon
    politics! Nowadays no one has courage any more for special rights, for
    the right of dominion, for feelings of honourable pride in himself and
    his equals--for the pathos of distance. . . Our politics is sick with
    this lack of courage!--The aristocratic attitude of mind has been
    undermined by the lie of the equality of souls; and if belief in the
    "privileges of the majority" makes and will continue to make
    revolution--it is Christianity, let us not doubt, and Christian
    valuations, which convert every revolution into a carnival of blood
    and crime! Christianity is a revolt of all creatures that creep on the
    ground against everything that is lofty: the gospel of the "lowly"
    lowers . . .


    --The gospels are invaluable as evidence of the corruption that was
    already persistent within the primitive community. That which Paul,
    with the cynical logic of a rabbi, later developed to a conclusion was
    at bottom merely a process of decay that had begun with the death of
    the Saviour.--These gospels cannot be read too carefully; difficulties
    lurk behind every word. I confess--I hope it will not be held against
    me--that it is precisely for this reason that they offer first-rate
    joy to a psychologist--as the opposite of all merely naive corruption,
    as refinement par excellence, as an artistic triumph in psychological
    corruption. The gospels, in fact, stand alone. The Bible as a whole is
    not to be compared to them. Here we are among Jews: this is the first
    thing to be borne in mind if we are not to lose the thread of the
    matter. This positive genius for conjuring up a delusion of personal
    "holiness" unmatched anywhere else, either in books or by men; this
    elevation of fraud in word and attitude to the level of an art--all
    this is not an accident due to the chance talents of an individual, or
    to any violation of nature. The thing responsible is race. The whole
    of Judaism appears in Christianity as the art of concocting holy lies,
    and there, after many centuries of earnest Jewish training and hard
    practice of Jewish technic, the business comes to the stage of
    mastery. The Christian, that ultima ratio of lying, is the Jew all
    over again--he is threefold the Jew. . . The underlying will to make
    use only of such concepts, symbols and attitudes as fit into priestly
    practice, the instinctive repudiation of every other mode of thought,
    and every other method of estimating values and utilities--this is not
    only tradition, it is inheritance: only as an inheritance is it able
    to operate with the force of nature. The whole of mankind, even the
    best minds of the best ages (with one exception, perhaps hardly
    human--), have permitted themselves to be deceived. The gospels have
    been read as a book of innocence. . . surely no small indication of
    the high skill with which the trick has been done.--Of course, if we
    could actually see these astounding bigots and bogus saints, even if
    only for an instant, the farce would come to an end,--and it is
    precisely because I cannot read a word of theirs without seeing their
    attitudinizing that I have made am end of them. . . . I simply cannot
    endure the way they have of rolling up their eyes.--For the majority,
    happily enough, books are mere literature.--Let us not be led astray:
    they say "judge not," and yet they condemn to hell whoever stands in
    their way. In letting God sit in judgment they judge themselves; in
    glorifying God they glorify themselves; in demanding that every one
    show the virtues which they themselves happen to be capable of--still
    more, which they must have in order to remain on top--they assume the
    grand air of men struggling for virtue, of men engaging in a war that
    virtue may prevail. "We live, we die, we sacrifice ourselves for the
    good" (--"the truth," "the light," "the kingdom of God"): in point of
    fact, they simply do what they cannot help doing. Forced, like
    hypocrites, to be sneaky, to hide in corners, to slink along in the
    shadows, they convert their necessity into aduty: it is on grounds of
    duty that they account for their lives of humility, and that humility
    becomes merely one more proof of their piety. . . Ah, that humble,
    chaste, charitable brand of fraud! "Virtue itself shall bear witness
    for us.". . . . One may read the gospels as books of moral seduction:
    these petty folks fasten themselves to morality--they know the uses of
    morality! Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by
    the nose!--The fact is that the conscious conceit of the chosen here
    disguises itself as modesty: it is in this way that they, the
    "community," the "good and just," range themselves, once and for
    always, on one side, the side of "the truth"--and the rest of mankind,
    "the world," on the other. . . In that we observe the most fatal sort
    of megalomania that the earth has ever seen: little abortions of
    bigots and liars began to claim exclusive rights in the concepts of
    "God," "the truth," "the light," "the spirit," "love," "wisdom" and
    "life," as if these things were synonyms of themselves and thereby
    they sought to fence themselves off from the "world"; little
    super-Jews, ripe for some sort of madhouse, turned values upside down
    in order to meet their notions, just as if the Christian were the
    meaning, the salt, the standard and even thelast judgment of all the
    rest. . . . The whole disaster was only made possible by the fact that
    there already existed in the world a similar megalomania, allied to
    this one in race, to wit, the Jewish: once a chasm began to yawn
    between Jews and Judaeo-Christians, the latter had no choice but to
    employ the self-preservative measures that the Jewish instinct had
    devised, even against the Jews themselves, whereas the Jews had
    employed them only against non-Jews. The Christian is simply a Jew of
    the "reformed" confession.--


    --I offer a few examples of the sort of thing these petty people have
    got into their heads--what they have put into the mouth of the Master:
    the unalloyed creed of "beautiful souls."--

    "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart
    thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against
    them. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and
    Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city" (Mark vi,
    11)--How evangelical!

    "And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in
    me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck,
    and he were cast into the sea" (Mark ix, 42) .--How  evangelical! --

    "And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to
    enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be
    cast into hell fire; Where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not
    quenched." (Mark ix, 47)^15--It is not exactly the eye that is meant.

    "Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here,
    which shall not taste death, till they have seen the kingdom of God
    come with power." (Mark ix, 1.)--Well lied, lion!^16 . . . .

    "Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his
    cross, and follow me. For . . ." (Note of a psychologist. Christian
    morality is refuted by its fors: its reasons are against it,--this
    makes it Christian.) Mark viii, 34.--

    "Judge not, that ye be not judged. With what measure ye mete, it shall
    be measured to you again." (Matthew vii, l.)^17--What a notion of
    justice, of a "just" judge! . . .

    "For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even
    the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do
    ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?" (Matthew V,
    46.)^18--Principle of "Christian love": it insists upon being well
    paid in the end. . . .

    "But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father
    forgive your trespasses." (Matthew vi, 15.)--Very compromising for the
    said "father."

    "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all
    these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew vi, 33.)--All these
    things: namely, food, clothing, all the necessities of life. An error,
    to put it mildly. . . . A bit before this God appears as a tailor, at
    least in certain cases.

    "Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is
    great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the
    prophets." (Luke vi, 23.)--Impudent rabble! It compares itself to the
    prophets. . .

    "Know yea not that yea are the temple of God, and that the spirit of
    God dwelt in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God
    destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple yea are." (Paul,
    1 Corinthians iii, 16.)^19--For that sort of thing one cannot have
    enough contempt. . . .

    "Do yea not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the
    world shall be judged by you, are yea unworthy to judge the smallest
    matters?" (Paul, 1 Corinthians vi, 2.)--Unfortunately, not merely the
    speech of a lunatic. . .

    This frightful impostor then proceeds: "Know yea not that we shall
    judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?". . .

    "Hat not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in
    the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by
    the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. . . . Not many
    wise men after the flesh, not men mighty, not many noble are called:
    But God hat chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the
    wise; and God hat chosen the weak things of the world confound the
    things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things
    which are despised, hat God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to
    bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his
    presence." (Paul, 1 Corinthians i, 20ff.)^20 --In order to understand
    this passage, a first rate example of the psychology underlying every
    Chandala-morality, one should read the first part of my "Genealogy of
    Morals": there, for the first time, the antagonism between a noble
    morality and a morality born of ressentiment and impotent vengefulness
    is exhibited. Paul was the greatest of all apostles of revenge. . . .


    --What follows, then? That one had better put on gloves before reading
    the New Testament. The presence of so much filth makes it very
    advisable. One would as little choose "early Christians" for
    companions as Polish Jews: not that one need seek out an objection to
    them . . . Neither has a pleasant smell.--I have searched the New
    Testament in vain for a single sympathetic touch; nothing is there
    that is free, kindly, open-hearted or upright. In it humanity does not
    even make the first step upward--the instinct for cleanliness is
    lacking. . . . Only evil instincts are there, and there is not even
    the courage of these evil instincts. It is all cowardice; it is all a
    shutting of the eyes, a self-deception. Every other book becomes
    clean, once one has read the New Testament: for example, immediately
    after reading Paul I took up with delight that most charming and
    wanton of scoffers, Petronius, of whom one may say what Domenico
    Boccaccio wrote of Ceasar Borgia to the Duke of Parma: "e  tutto
    Iesto"--immortally healthy, immortally cheerful and sound. . . .These
    petty bigots make a capital miscalculation. They attack, but
    everything they attack is thereby distinguished. Whoever is attacked
    by an "early Christian" is surely not befouled . . . On the contrary,
    it is an honour to have an "early Christian" as an opponent. One
    cannot read the New Testament without acquired admiration for whatever
    it abuses--not to speak of the "wisdom of this world," which an
    impudent wind bag tries to dispose of "by the foolishness of
    preaching." . . . Even the scribes and pharisees are benefitted by
    such opposition: they must certainly have been worth something to have
    been hated in such an indecent manner. Hypocrisy--as if this were a
    charge that the "early Christians" dared to make!--After all, they
    were the privileged, and that was enough: the hatred of the Chandala
    needed no other excuse. The "early Christian"--and also, I fear, the
    "last Christian," whom I may perhaps live to see--is a rebel against
    all privilege by profound instinct--he lives and makes war for ever
    for "equal rights." . . .Strictly speaking, he has no alternative.
    When a man proposes to represent, in his own person, the "chosen of
    God"--or to be a "temple of God," or a "judge of the angels"--then
    every other criterion, whether based upon honesty, upon intellect,
    upon manliness and pride, or upon beauty and freedom of the heart,
    becomes simply "worldly"--evil in itself. . . Moral: every word that
    comes from the lips of an "early Christian" is a lie, and his every
    act is instinctively dishonest--all his values, all his aims are
    noxious, but whoever he hates, whatever he hates, has real value . . .
    The Christian, and particularly the Christian priest, is thus a
    criterion of values.

    --Must I add that, in the whole New Testament, there appears but a
    solitary figure worthy of honour? Pilate, the Roman viceroy. To regard
    a Jewish imbroglio seriously--that was quite beyond him. One Jew more
    or less-- what did it matter? . . . The noble scorn of a Roman, before
    whom the word "truth" was shamelessly mishandled, enriched the New
    Testament with the only saying that has any value--and that is at once
    its criticism and its destruction: "What is truth?". . .


    --The thing that sets us apart is not that we are unable to find God,
    either in history, or in nature, or behind nature--but that we regard
    what has been honoured as God, not as "divine," but as pitiable, as
    absurd, as injurious; not as a mere error, but as acrime against life.
    . . We deny that God is God . . . If any one were to show us this
    Christian God, we'd be still less inclined to believe in him.--In a
    formula: deus, qualem Paulus creavit, dei negatio.--Such a religion as
    Christianity, which does not touch reality at a single point and which
    goes to pieces the moment reality asserts its rights at any point,
    must be inevitably the deadly enemy of the "wisdom of this world,"
    which is to say, of science--and it will give the name of good to
    whatever means serve to poison, calumniate and cry down all
    intellectual discipline, all lucidity and strictness in matters of
    intellectual conscience, and all noble coolness and freedom of the
    mind. "Faith," as an imperative, vetoes science--in praxi, lying at
    any price. . . . Paul well knew that lying--that "faith"--was
    necessary; later on the church borrowed the fact from Paul.--The God
    that Paul invented for himself, a God who "reduced to absurdity" "the
    wisdom of this world" (especially the two great enemies of
    superstition, philology and medicine), is in truth only an indication
    of Paul's resolute determination to accomplish that very thing
    himself: to give one's own will the name of God, thora--that is
    essentially Jewish. Paul wants to dispose of the "wisdom of this
    world": his enemies are the good philologians and physicians of the
    Alexandrine school--on them he makes his war. As a matter of fact no
    man can be a philologian or a physician without being also Antichrist.
    That is to say, as a philologian a man sees behind the "holy books,"
    and as a physician he sees behind the physiological degeneration of
    the typical Christian. The physician says "incurable"; the philologian
    says "fraud.". . .


    --Has any one ever clearly understood the celebrated story at the
    beginning of the Bible--of God's mortal terror of science? . . . No
    one, in fact, has understood it. This priest-book par excellence
    opens, as is fitting, with the great inner difficulty of the priest:
    he faces only one great danger; ergo, "God" faces only one great

    The old God, wholly "spirit," wholly the high-priest, wholly perfect,
    is promenading his garden: he is bored and trying to kill time.
    Against boredom even gods struggle in vain.^21What does he do? He
    creates man--man is entertaining. . . But then he notices that man is
    also bored. God's pity for the only form of distress that invades all
    paradises knows no bounds: so he forthwith creates other animals.
    God's first mistake: to man these other animals were not
    entertaining--he sought dominion over them; he did not want to be an
    "animal" himself.--So God created woman. In the act he brought boredom
    to an end--and also many other things! Woman was the second mistake of
    God.--"Woman, at bottom, is a serpent, Heva"--every priest knows that;
    "from woman comes every evil in the world"--every priest knows that,
    too. Ergo, she is also to blame for science. . . It was through woman
    that man learned to taste of the tree of knowledge.--What happened?
    The old God was seized by mortal terror. Man himself had been his
    greatest blunder; he had created a rival to himself; science makes men
    godlike--it is all up with priests and gods when man becomes
    scientific!--Moral: science is the forbidden per se; it alone is
    forbidden. Science is the first of sins, the germ of all sins, the
    original sin. This is all there is of morality.--"Thou shalt not
    know"--the rest follows from that.--God's mortal terror, however, did
    not hinder him from being shrewd. How is one to protect one's self
    against science? For a long while this was the capital problem.
    Answer: Out of paradise with man! Happiness, leisure, foster
    thought--and all thoughts are bad thoughts!--Man must not think.--And
    so the priest invents distress, death, the mortal dangers of
    childbirth, all sorts of misery, old age, decrepitude, above all,
    sickness--nothing but devices for making war on science! The troubles
    of man don't allow him to think. . . Nevertheless--how terrible!--,
    the edifice of knowledge begins to tower aloft, invading heaven,
    shadowing the gods--what is to be done?--The old God invents war; he
    separates the peoples; he makes men destroy one another (--the priests
    have always had need of war....). War--among other things, a great
    disturber of science !--Incredible! Knowledge, deliverance from the
    priests, prospers in spite of war.--So the old God comes to his final
    resolution: "Man has become scientific--there is no help for it: he
    must be drowned!". . . .


    --I have been understood. At the opening of the Bible there is the
    whole psychology of the priest.--The priest knows of only one great
    danger: that is science--the sound comprehension of cause and effect.
    But science flourishes, on the whole, only under favourable
    conditions--a man must have time, he must have an overflowing
    intellect, in order to "know." . . ."Therefore, man must be made
    unhappy,"--this has been, in all ages, the logic of the priest.--It is
    easy to see just what, by this logic, was the first thing to come into
    the world :--"sin."  . . . The concept of guilt and punishment, the
    whole "moral order of the world," was set up against science--against
    the deliverance of man from priests. . . . Man must not look outward;
    he must look inward. He must not look at things shrewdly and
    cautiously, to learn about them; he must not look at all; he must
    suffer . . . And he must suffer so much that he is always in need of
    the priest.--Away with physicians! What is needed is a Saviour.--The
    concept of guilt and punishment, including the doctrines of "grace,"
    of "salvation," of "forgiveness"--lies through and through, and
    absolutely without psychological reality--were devised to destroy
    man's sense of causality: they are an attack upon the concept of cause
    and effect !--And not an attack with the fist, with the knife, with
    honesty in hate and love! On the contrary, one inspired by the most
    cowardly, the most crafty, the most ignoble of instincts! An attack of
    priests! An attack of parasites! The vampirism of pale, subterranean
    leeches! . . . When the natural consequences of an act are no longer
    "natural," but are regarded as produced by the ghostly creations of
    superstition--by "God," by "spirits," by "souls"--and reckoned as
    merely "moral" consequences, as rewards, as punishments, as hints, as
    lessons, then the whole ground-work of knowledge is destroyed--then
    the greatest of crimes against humanity has been perpetrated.--I
    repeat that sin, man's self-desecration par excellence, was invented
    in order to make science, culture, and every elevation and ennobling
    of man impossible; the priest rules through the invention of sin.--


    --In this place I can't permit myself to omit a psychology of
    "belief," of the "believer," for the special benefit of 'believers."
    If there remain any today who do not yet know how indecent it is to be
    "believing"--or how much a sign of decadence, of a broken will to
    live--then they will know it well enough tomorrow. My voice reaches
    even the deaf.--It appears, unless I have been incorrectly informed,
    that there prevails among Christians a sort of criterion of truth that
    is called "proof by power."  Faith makes blessed: therefore it is
    true."--It might be objected right here that blessedness is not
    demonstrated, it is merely promised: it hangs upon "faith" as a
    condition--one shall be blessed because one believes. . . . But what
    of the thing that the priest promises to the believer, the wholly
    transcendental "beyond"--how is that to be demonstrated?--The "proof
    by power," thus assumed, is actually no more at bottom than a belief
    that the effects which faith promises will not fail to appear. In a
    formula: "I believe that faith makes for blessedness--therefore, it is
    true." . . But this is as far as we may go. This "therefore" would be
    absurdum itself as a criterion of truth.--But let us admit, for the
    sake of politeness, that blessedness by faith may be demonstrated
    (--not merely hoped for, and not merely promised by the suspicious
    lips of a priest): even so, could blessedness--in a technical term,
    pleasure--ever be a proof of truth? So little is this true that it is
    almost a proof against truth when sensations of pleasure influence the
    answer to the question "What is true?" or, at all events, it is enough
    to make that "truth" highly suspicious. The proof by "pleasure" is a
    proof of "pleasure--nothing more; why in the world should it be
    assumed that true judgments give more pleasure than false ones, and
    that, in conformity to some pre-established harmony, they necessarily
    bring agreeable feelings in their train?--The experience of all
    disciplined and profound minds teaches the contrary. Man has had to
    fight for every atom of the truth, and has had to pay for it almost
    everything that the heart, that human love, that human trust cling to.
    Greatness of soul is needed for this business: the service of truth is
    the hardest of all services.--What, then, is the meaning of
    integrityin things intellectual? It means that a man must be severe
    with his own heart, that he must scorn "beautiful feelings," and that
    he makes every Yea and Nay a matter of conscience!--Faith makes
    blessed:therefore, it lies. . . .


    The fact that faith, under certain circumstances, may work for
    blessedness, but that this blessedness produced by an idee fixe by no
    means makes the idea itself true, and the fact that faith actually
    moves no mountains, but instead raises them up where there were none
    before: all this is made sufficiently clear by a walk through a
    lunatic asylum. Not, of course, to a priest: for his instincts prompt
    him to the lie that sickness is not sickness and lunatic asylums not
    lunatic asylums. Christianity finds sickness necessary, just as the
    Greek spirit had need of a superabundance of health--the actual
    ulterior purpose of the whole system of salvation of the church is to
    make people ill. And the church itself--doesn't it set up a Catholic
    lunatic asylum as the ultimate ideal?--The whole earth as a
    madhouse?--The sort of religious man that the church wants is a
    typical decadent; the moment at which a religious crisis dominates a
    people is always marked by epidemics of nervous disorder; the inner
    world" of the religious man is so much like the "inner world" of the
    overstrung and exhausted that it is difficult to distinguish between
    them; the "highest" states of mind, held up be fore mankind by
    Christianity as of supreme worth, are actually epileptoid in form--the
    church has granted the name of holy only to lunatics or to gigantic
    frauds in majorem dei honorem. . . . Once I ventured to designate the
    whole Christian system of training^22in penance and salvation (now
    best studied in England) as a method of producing a folie circulaire
    upon a soil already prepared for it, which is to say, a soil
    thoroughly unhealthy. Not every one may be a Christian: one is not
    "converted" to Christianity--one must first be sick enough for it. . .
    .We others, who have the courage for health and likewise for
    contempt,--we may well despise a religion that teaches
    misunderstanding of the body! that refuses to rid itself of the
    superstition about the soul! that makes a "virtue" of insufficient
    nourishment! that combats health as a sort of enemy, devil,
    temptation! that persuades itself that it is possible to carry about a
    "perfect soul" in a cadaver of a body, and that, to this end, had to
    devise for itself a new concept of "perfection," a pale, sickly,
    idiotically ecstatic state of existence, so-called "holiness"--a
    holiness that is itself merely a series of symptoms of an
    impoverished, enervated and incurably disordered body! . . . The
    Christian movement, as a European movement, was from the start no more
    than a general uprising of all sorts of outcast and refuse elements
    (--who now, under cover of Christianity, aspire to power)-- It does
    not represent the decay of a race; it represents, on the contrary, a
    conglomeration of decadence products from all directions, crowding
    together and seeking one another out. It was not, as has been thought,
    the corruption of antiquity, of noble antiquity, which made
    Christianity possible; one cannot too sharply challenge the learned
    imbecility which today maintains that theory. At the time when the
    sick and rotten Chandala classes in the whole imperium were
    Christianized, the contrary type, the nobility, reached its finest and
    ripest development. The majority became master; democracy, with its
    Christian instincts, triumphed . . . Christianity was not "national,"
    it was not based on race--it appealed to all the varieties of men
    disinherited by life, it had its allies everywhere. Christianity has
    the rancour of the sick at its very core--the instinct against the
    healthy, against health. Everything that is well--constituted, proud,
    gallant and, above all, beautiful gives offence to its ears and eyes.
    Again I remind you of Paul's priceless saying: "And God hath chosen
    the weak things of the world, the foolish things of the world, the
    base things of the world, and things which are despised":^23 this was
    the formula; in hoc signo the decadence triumphed.--God on the
    cross--is man always to miss the frightful inner significance of this
    symbol?--Everything that suffers, everything that hangs on the cross,
    is divine. . . . We all hang on the cross, consequently we are divine.
    . . . We alone are divine. . . . Christianity was thus a victory: a
    nobler attitude of mind was destroyed by it--Christianity remains to
    this day the greatest misfortune of humanity.--


    Christianity also stands in opposition to all intellectual
    well-being,--sick reasoning is the only sort that it can use as
    Christian reasoning; it takes the side of everything that is idiotic;
    it pronounces a curse upon "intellect," upon the superbia of the
    healthy intellect. Since sickness is inherent in Christianity, it
    follows that the typically Christian state of "faith" must be a form
    of sickness too, and that all straight, straightforward and scientific
    paths to knowledge must be banned by the church as forbidden ways.
    Doubt is thus a sin from the start. . . . The complete lack of
    psychological cleanliness in the priest--revealed by a glance at
    him--is a phenomenon resulting from decadence,--one may observe in
    hysterical women and in rachitic children how regularly the
    falsification of instincts, delight in lying for the mere sake of
    lying, and incapacity for looking straight and walking straight are
    symptoms of decadence. "Faith" means the will to avoid knowing what is
    true. The pietist, the priest of either sex, is a fraud because he is
    sick: his instinct demands that the truth shall never be allowed its
    rights on any point. "Whatever makes for illness is good; whatever
    issues from abundance, from super-abundance, from power, is evil": so
    argues the believer. The impulse to lie--it is by this that I
    recognize every foreordained theologian.--Another characteristic of
    the theologian is his unfitness for philology. What I here mean by
    philology is, in a general sense, the art of reading with profit--the
    capacity for absorbing facts without interpreting them falsely, and
    without losing caution, patience and subtlety in the effort to
    understand them. Philology as ephexis^24 in interpretation: whether
    one be dealing with books, with newspaper reports, with the most
    fateful events or with weather statistics--not to mention the
    "salvation of the soul." . . . The way in which a theologian, whether
    in Berlin or in Rome, is ready to explain, say, a "passage of
    Scripture," or an experience, or a victory by the national army, by
    turning upon it the high illumination of the Psalms of David, is
    always so daring that it is enough to make a philologian run up a
    wall. But what shall he do when pietists and other such cows from
    Suabia^25 use the "finger of God" to convert their miserably
    commonplace and huggermugger existence into a miracle of "grace," a
    "providence" and an "experience of salvation"? The most modest
    exercise of the intellect, not to say of decency, should certainly be
    enough to convince these interpreters of the perfect childishness and
    unworthiness of such a misuse of the divine digital dexterity. However
    small our piety, if we ever encountered a god who always cured us of a
    cold in the head at just the right time, or got us into our carriage
    at the very instant heavy rain began to fall, he would seem so absurd
    a god that he'd have to be abolished even if he existed. God as a
    domestic servant, as a letter carrier, as an almanac--man--at bottom,
    he is' a mere name for the stupidest sort of chance. . . . "Divine
    Providence," which every third man in "educated Germany" still
    believes in, is so strong an argument against God that it would be
    impossible to think of a stronger. And in any case it is an argument
    against Germans! . . .


    --It is so little true that martyrs offer any support to the truth of
    a cause that I am inclined to deny that any martyr has ever had
    anything to do with the truth at all. In the very tone in which a
    martyr flings what he fancies to be true at the head of the world
    there appears so low a grade of intellectual honesty and such
    insensibility to the problem of "truth," that it is never necessary to
    refute him. Truth is not something that one man has and another man
    has not: at best, only peasants, or peasant apostles like Luther, can
    think of truth in any such way. One may rest assured that the greater
    the degree of a man's intellectual conscience the greater will be his
    modesty, his discretion, on this point. To know in five cases, and to
    refuse, with delicacy, to know anything further . . . "Truth," as the
    word is understood by every prophet, every sectarian, every
    free-thinker, every Socialist and every churchman, is simply a
    complete proof that not even a beginning has been made in the
    intellectual discipline and self-control that are necessary to the
    unearthing of even the smallest truth.--The deaths of the martyrs, it
    may be said in passing, have been misfortunes of history: they have
    misled . . . The conclusion that all idiots, women and plebeians come
    to, that there must be something in a cause for which any one goes to
    his death (or which, as under primitive Christianity, sets off
    epidemics of death-seeking)--this conclusion has been an unspeakable
    drag upon the testing of facts, upon the whole spirit of inquiry and
    investigation. The martyrs have damaged the truth. . . . Even to this
    day the crude fact of persecution is enough to give an honourable name
    to the most empty sort of sectarianism.--But why? Is the worth of a
    cause altered by the fact that some one had laid down his life for
    it?--An error that becomes honourable is simply an error that has
    acquired one seductive charm the more: do you suppose, Messrs.
    Theologians, that we shall give you the chance to be martyred for your
    lies?--One best disposes of a cause by respectfully putting it on
    ice--that is also the best way to dispose of theologians. . . . This
    was precisely the world-historical stupidity of all the persecutors:
    that they gave the appearance of honour to the cause they
    opposed--that they made it a present of the fascination of martyrdom.
    . . .Women are still on their knees before an error because they have
    been told that some one died on the cross for it. Is the cross, then,
    an argument?--But about all these things there is one, and one only,
    who has said what has been needed for thousands of years--Zarathustra.

    They made signs in blood along the way that they went, and their folly
    taught them that the truth is proved by blood.
    But blood is the worst of all testimonies to the truth; blood
    poisoneth even the purest teaching and turneth it into madness and
    hatred in the heart.
    And when one goeth through fire for his teaching--what doth that
    prove? Verily, it is more when one's teaching cometh out of one's own


    Do not let yourself be deceived: great intellects are sceptical.
    Zarathustra is a sceptic. The strength, the freedom which proceed from
    intellectual power, from a superabundance of intellectual power,
    manifest themselves as scepticism. Men of fixed convictions do not
    count when it comes to determining what is fundamental in values and
    lack of values. Men of convictions are prisoners. They do not see far
    enough, they do not see what is below them: whereas a man who would
    talk to any purpose about value and non-value must be able to see five
    hundred convictions beneath him--and behind him. . . . A mind that
    aspires to great things, and that wills the means thereto, is
    necessarily sceptical. Freedom from any sort of conviction belongs to
    strength, and to an independent point of view. . . That grand passion
    which is at once the foundation and the power of a sceptic's
    existence, and is both more enlightened and more despotic than he is
    himself, drafts the whole of his intellect into its service; it makes
    him unscrupulous; it gives him courage to employ unholy means; under
    certain circumstances it does not begrudge him even convictions.
    Conviction as a means: one may achieve a good deal by means of a
    conviction. A grand passion makes use of and uses up convictions; it
    does not yield to them--it knows itself to be sovereign.--On the
    contrary, the need of faith, of some thing unconditioned by yea or
    nay, of Carlylism, if I may be allowed the word, is a need of
    weakness. The man of faith, the "believer" of any sort, is necessarily
    a dependent man--such a man cannot posit himself as a goal, nor can he
    find goals within himself. The "believer" does not belong to himself;
    he can only be a means to an end; he must be used up; he needs some
    one to use him up. His instinct gives the highest honours to an ethic
    of self-effacement; he is prompted to embrace it by everything: his
    prudence, his experience, his vanity. Every sort of faith is in itself
    an evidence of self-effacement, of self-estrangement. .  . When one
    reflects how necessary it is to the great majority that there be
    regulations to restrain them from without and hold them fast, and to
    what extent control, or, in a higher sense, slavery, is the one and
    only condition which makes for the well-being of the weak-willed man,
    and especially woman, then one at once understands conviction and
    "faith." To the man with convictions they are his backbone. To avoid
    seeing many things, to be impartial about nothing, to be a party man
    through and through, to estimate all values strictly and
    infallibly--these are conditions necessary to the existence of such a
    man. But by the same token they are antagonists of the truthful
    man--of the truth. . . . The believer is not free to answer the
    question, "true" or "not true," according to the dictates of his own
    conscience: integrity on this point would work his instant downfall.
    The pathological limitations of his vision turn the man of convictions
    into a fanatic--Savonarola, Luther, Rousseau, Robespierre,
    Saint-Simon--these types stand in opposition to the strong,
    emancipated spirit. But the grandiose attitudes of these sick
    intellects, these intellectual epileptics, are of influence upon the
    great masses--fanatics are picturesque, and mankind prefers observing
    poses to listening to reasons. . . .


    --One step further in the psychology of conviction, of "faith." It is
    now a good while since I first proposed for consideration the question
    whether convictions are not even more dangerous enemies to truth than
    lies. ("Human, All-Too-Human," I, aphorism 483.)^27 This time I desire
    to put the question definitely: is there any actual difference between
    a lie and a conviction?--All the world believes that there is; but
    what is not believed by all the world!--Every conviction has its
    history, its primitive forms, its stage of tentativeness and error: it
    becomes a conviction only after having been, for a long time, not one,
    and then, for an even longer time, hardly one. What if falsehood be
    also one of these embryonic forms of conviction?--Sometimes all that
    is needed is a change in persons: what was a lie in the father becomes
    a conviction in the son.--I call it lying to refuse to see what one
    sees, or to refuse to see it as it is: whether the lie be uttered
    before witnesses or not before witnesses is of no consequence. The
    most common sort of lie is that by which a man deceives himself: the
    deception of others is a relatively rare offence.--Now, this will not
    to see what one sees, this will not to see it as it is, is almost the
    first requisite for all who belong to a party of whatever sort: the
    party man becomes inevitably a liar. For example, the German
    historians are convinced that Rome was synonymous with despotism and
    that the Germanic peoples brought the spirit of liberty into the
    world: what is the difference between this conviction and a lie? Is it
    to be wondered at that all partisans, including the German historians,
    instinctively roll the fine phrases of morality upon their
    tongues--that morality almost owes its very survival to the fact that
    the party man of every sort has need of it every moment?--"This is our
    conviction: we publish it to the whole world; we live and die for
    it--let us respect all who have convictions!"--I have actually heard
    such sentiments from the mouths of anti-Semites. On the contrary,
    gentlemen! An anti-Semite surely does not become more respectable
    because he lies on principle. . . The priests, who have more finesse
    in such matters, and who well understand the objection that lies
    against the notion of a conviction, which is to say, of a falsehood
    that becomes a matter of principle because it serves a purpose, have
    borrowed from the Jews the shrewd device of sneaking in the concepts,
    "God," "the will of God" and "the revelation of God" at this place.
    Kant, too, with his categorical imperative, was on the same road: this
    was hispractical reason.^28 There are questions regarding the truth or
    untruth of which it is not for man to decide; all the capital
    questions, all the capital problems of valuation, are beyond human
    reason. . . . To know the limits of reason--that alone is genuine.
    philosophy. Why did God make a revelation to man? Would God have done
    anything superfluous? Man could not find out for himself what was good
    and what was evil, so God taught him His will. Moral: the priest does
    not lie--the question, "true" or "untrue," has nothing to do with such
    things as the priest discusses; it is impossible to lie about these
    things. In order to lie here it would be necessary to knowwhat is
    true. But this is more than man can know; therefore, the priest is
    simply the mouth-piece of God.--Such a priestly syllogism is by no
    means merely Jewish and Christian; the right to lie and the shrewd
    dodge of "revelation" belong to the general priestly type--to the
    priest of the decadence as well as to the priest of pagan times
    (--Pagans are all those who say yes to life, and to whom "God" is a
    word signifying acquiescence in all things) --The "law," the "will of
    God," the "holy book," and "inspiration"--all these things are merely
    words for the conditionsunder which the priest comes to power and with
    which he maintains his power,--these concepts are to be found at the
    bottom of all priestly organizations, and of all priestly or
    priestly-philosophical schemes of governments. The "holy lie"--common
    alike to Confucius, to the Code of Manu, to Mohammed and to the
    Christian church--is not even wanting in Plato. "Truth is here": this
    means, no matter where it is heard, the priest lies. . . .


    --In the last analysis it comes to this: what is the end of lying? The
    fact that, in Christianity, "holy" ends are not visible is my
    objection to the means it employs. Only bad ends appear: the
    poisoning, the calumniation, the denial of life, the despising of the
    body, the degradation and self-contamination of man by the concept of
    sin--therefore, its means are also bad.--I have a contrary feeling
    when I read the Code of Manu, an incomparably more intellectual and
    superior work, which it would be a sin against the intelligence to so
    much as name in the same breath with the Bible. It is easy to see why:
    there is a genuine philosophy behind it, in it, not merely an
    evil-smelling mess of Jewish rabbinism and superstition,--it gives
    even the most fastidious psychologist something to sink his teeth
    into. And, not to forget what is most important, it differs
    fundamentally from every kind of Bible: by means of it the nobles, the
    philosophers and the warriors keep the whip-hand over the majority; it
    is full of noble valuations, it shows a feeling of perfection, an
    acceptance of life, and triumphant feeling toward self and life--the
    sun shines upon the whole book.--All the things on which Christianity
    vents its fathomless vulgarity--for example, procreation, women and
    marriage--are here handled earnestly, with reverence and with love and
    confidence. How can any one really put into the hands of children and
    ladies a book which contains such vile things as this: "to avoid
    fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have
    her own husband; . . . it is better to marry than to burn"?^29 And is
    it possible to be a Christian so long as the origin of man is
    Christianized, which is to say, befouled, by the doctrine of the
    immaculata conceptio? . . . I know of no book in which so many
    delicate and kindly things are said of women as in the Code of Manu;
    these old grey-beards and saints have a way of being gallant to women
    that it would be impossible, perhaps, to surpass. "The mouth of a
    woman," it says in one place, "the breasts of a maiden, the prayer of
    a child and the smoke of sacrifice are always pure." In another place:
    "there is nothing purer than the light of the sun, the shadow cast by
    a cow, air, water, fire and the breath of a maiden." Finally, in still
    another place--perhaps this is also a holy lie--: "all the orifices of
    the body above the navel are pure, and all below are impure. Only in
    the maiden is the whole body pure."


    One catches the unholiness of Christian means in flagranti by the
    simple process of putting the ends sought by Christianity beside the
    ends sought by the Code of Manu--by putting these enormously
    antithetical ends under a strong light. The critic of Christianity
    cannot evade the necessity of making Christianity contemptible.--A
    book of laws such as the Code of Manu has the same origin as every
    other good law-book: it epitomizes the experience, the sagacity and
    the ethical experimentation of long centuries; it brings things to a
    conclusion; it no longer creates. The prerequisite to a codification
    of this sort is recognition of the fact that the means which establish
    the authority of a slowly and painfully attained truth are
    fundamentally different from those which one would make use of to
    prove it. A law-book never recites the utility, the grounds, the
    casuistical antecedents of a law: for if it did so it would lose the
    imperative tone, the "thou shalt," on which obedience is based. The
    problem lies exactly here.--At a certain point in the evolution of a
    people, the class within it of the greatest insight, which is to say,
    the greatest hindsight and foresight, declares that the series of
    experiences determining how all shall live--or can live--has come to
    an end. The object now is to reap as rich and as complete a harvest as
    possible from the days of experiment and hard experience. In
    consequence, the thing that is to be avoided above everything is
    further experimentation--the continuation of the state in which values
    are fluent, and are tested, chosen and criticized ad infnitum. Against
    this a double wall is set up: on the one hand, revelation, which is
    the assumption that the reasons lying behind the laws are not of human
    origin, that they were not sought out and found by a slow process and
    after many errors, but that they are of divine ancestry, and came into
    being complete, perfect, without a history, as a free gift, a miracle
    . . . ; and on the other hand, tradition, which is the assumption that
    the law has stood unchanged from time immemorial, and that it is
    impious and a crime against one's forefathers to bring it into
    question. The authority of the law is thus grounded on the thesis: God
    gave it, and the fathers lived it.--The higher motive of such
    procedure lies in the design to distract consciousness, step by step,
    from its concern with notions of right living (that is to say, those
    that have been proved to be right by wide and carefully considered
    experience), so that instinct attains to a perfect automatism--a
    primary necessity to every sort of mastery, to every sort of
    perfection in the art of life. To draw up such a law-book as Manu's
    means to lay before a people the possibility of future mastery, of
    attainable perfection--it permits them to aspire to the highest
    reaches of the art of life. To that end the thing must be made
    unconscious: that is the aim of every holy lie.--The order of castes,
    the highest, the dominating law, is merely the ratification of an
    order of nature, of a natural law of the first rank, over which no
    arbitrary fiat, no "modern idea," can exert any influence. In every
    healthy society there are three physiological types, gravitating
    toward differentiation but mutually conditioning one another, and each
    of these has its own hygiene, its own sphere of work, its own special
    mastery and feeling of perfection. It isnot Manu but nature that sets
    off in one class those who are chiefly intellectual, in another those
    who are marked by muscular strength and temperament, and in a third
    those who are distinguished in neither one way or the other, but show
    only mediocrity--the last-named represents the great majority, and the
    first two the select. The superior caste--I call it the fewest--has,
    as the most perfect, the privileges of the few: it stands for
    happiness, for beauty, for everything good upon earth. Only the most
    intellectual of men have any right to beauty, to the beautiful; only
    in them can goodness escape being weakness. Pulchrum est paucorum
    hominum:^30 goodness is a privilege. Nothing could be more unbecoming
    to them than uncouth manners or a pessimistic look, or an eye that
    sees ugliness--or indignation against the general aspect of things.
    Indignation is the privilege of the Chandala; so is pessimism. "The
    world is perfect"--so prompts the instinct of the intellectual, the
    instinct of the man who says yes to life. "Imperfection, what ever is
    inferior to us, distance, the pathos of distance, even the Chandala
    themselves are parts of this perfection. "The most intelligent men,
    like the strongest, find their happiness where others would find only
    disaster: in the labyrinth, in being hard with themselves and with
    others, in effort; their delight is in self-mastery; in them
    asceticism becomes second nature, a necessity, an instinct. They
    regard a difficult task as a privilege; it is to them a recreation to
    play with burdens that would crush all others. . . . Knowledge--a form
    of asceticism.--They are the most honourable kind of men: but that
    does not prevent them being the most cheerful and most amiable. They
    rule, not because they want to, but because they are; they are not at
    liberty to play second.--The second caste: to this belong the
    guardians of the law, the keepers of order and security, the more
    noble warriors, above all, the king as the highest form of warrior,
    judge and preserver of the law. The second in rank constitute the
    executive arm of the intellectuals, the next to them in rank, taking
    from them all that is rough in the business of ruling-their followers,
    their right hand, their most apt disciples.--In all this, I repeat,
    there is nothing arbitrary, nothing "made up"; whatever is to the
    contrary is made up--by it nature is brought to shame. . . The order
    of castes, the order of rank, simply formulates the supreme law of
    life itself; the separation of the three types is necessary to the
    maintenance of society, and to the evolution of higher types, and the
    highest types--the inequality of rights is essential to the existence
    of any rights at all.--A right is a privilege. Every one enjoys the
    privileges that accord with his state of existence. Let us not
    underestimate the privileges of the mediocre. Life is always harder as
    one mounts the heights--the cold increases, responsibility increases.
    A high civilization is a pyramid: it can stand only on a broad base;
    its primary prerequisite is a strong and soundly consolidated
    mediocrity. The handicrafts, commerce, agriculture, science, the
    greater part of art, in brief, the whole range of occupational
    activities, are compatible only with mediocre ability and aspiration;
    such callings would be out of place for exceptional men; the instincts
    which belong to them stand as much opposed to aristocracy as to
    anarchism. The fact that a man is publicly useful, that he is a wheel,
    a function, is evidence of a natural predisposition; it is not
    society, but the only sort of happiness that the majority are capable
    of, that makes them intelligent machines. To the mediocre mediocrity
    is a form of happiness; they have a natural instinct for mastering one
    thing, for specialization. It would be altogether unworthy of a
    profound intellect to see anything objectionable in mediocrity in
    itself. It is, in fact, the first prerequisite to the appearance of
    the exceptional: it is a necessary condition to a high degree of
    civilization. When the exceptional man handles the mediocre man with
    more delicate fingers than he applies to himself or to his equals,
    this is not merely kindness of heart--it is simply his duty. . . .
    Whom do I hate most heartily among the rabbles of today? The rabble of
    Socialists, the apostles to the Chandala, who undermine the
    workingman's instincts, his pleasure, his feeling of contentment with
    his petty existence--who make him envious and teach him revenge. . . .
    Wrong never lies in unequal rights; it lies in the assertion of
    "equal" rights. . . . What is bad? But I have already answered: all
    that proceeds from weakness, from envy, from revenge.--The anarchist
    and the Christian have the same ancestry. . . .


    In point of fact, the end for which one lies makes a great difference:
    whether one preserves thereby or destroys. There is a perfect likeness
    between Christian and anarchist: their object, their instinct, points
    only toward destruction. One need only turn to history for a proof of
    this: there it appears with appalling distinctness. We have just
    studied a code of religious legislation whose object it was to convert
    the conditions which cause life to flourish into an "eternal" social
    organization,--Christianity found its mission in putting an end to
    such an organization, because life flourished under it. There the
    benefits that reason had produced during long ages of experiment and
    insecurity were applied to the most remote uses, and an effort was
    made to bring in a harvest that should be as large, as rich and as
    complete as possible; here, on the contrary, the harvest is blighted
    overnight. . . .That which stood there aere perennis, the imperium
    Romanum, the most magnificent form of organization under difficult
    conditions that has ever been achieved, and compared to which
    everything before it and after it appears as patchwork, bungling,
    dilletantism--those holy anarchists made it a matter of "piety" to
    destroy "the world,"which is to say, the imperium Romanum, so that in
    the end not a stone stood upon another--and even Germans and other
    such louts were able to become its masters. . . . The Christian and
    the anarchist: both are decadents; both are incapable of any act that
    is not disintegrating, poisonous, degenerating, blood-sucking; both
    have an instinct of mortal hatred of everything that stands up, and is
    great, and has durability, and promises life a future. . . .
    Christianity was the vampire of the imperium Romanum,-- overnight it
    destroyed the vast achievement of the Romans: the conquest of the soil
    for a great culture that could await its time. Can it be that this
    fact is not yet understood? The imperium Romanum that we know, and
    that the history of the Roman provinces teaches us to know better and
    better,--this most admirable of all works of art in the grand manner
    was merely the beginning, and the structure to follow was not to prove
    its worth for thousands of years. To this day, nothing on a like scale
    sub specie aeterni has been brought into being, or even dreamed
    of!--This organization was strong enough to withstand bad emperors:
    the accident of personality has nothing to do with such things--the
    first principle of all genuinely great architecture. But it was not
    strong enough to stand up against the corruptest of all forms of
    corruption--against Christians. . . . These stealthy worms, which
    under the cover of night, mist and duplicity, crept upon every
    individual, sucking him dry of all earnest interest in real things, of
    all instinct for reality--this cowardly, effeminate and sugar-coated
    gang gradually alienated all "souls," step by step, from that colossal
    edifice, turning against it all the meritorious, manly and noble
    natures that had found in the cause of Rome their own cause, their own
    serious purpose, their own pride. The sneakishness of hypocrisy, the
    secrecy of the conventicle, concepts as black as hell, such as the
    sacrifice of the innocent, the unio mystica in the drinking of blood,
    above all, the slowly rekindled fire of revenge, of Chandala
    revenge--all that sort of thing became master of Rome: the same kind
    of religion which, in a pre-existent form, Epicurus had combatted. One
    has but to read Lucretius to know what Epicurus made war upon--not
    paganism, but "Christianity," which is to say, the corruption of souls
    by means of the concepts of guilt, punishment and immortality.--He
    combatted the subterranean cults, the whole of latent Christianity--to
    deny immortality was already a form of genuine salvation.--Epicurus
    had triumphed, and every respectable intellect in Rome was
    Epicurean--when Paul appeared. . . Paul, the Chandala hatred of Rome,
    of "the world," in the flesh and inspired by genius--the Jew, the
    eternal Jew par excellence. . . . What he saw was how, with the aid of
    the small sectarian Christian movement that stood apart from Judaism,
    a "world conflagration" might be kindled; how, with the symbol of "God
    on the cross," all secret seditions, all the fruits of anarchistic
    intrigues in the empire, might be amalgamated into one immense power.
    "Salvation is of the Jews."--Christianity is the formula for exceeding
    and summing up the subterranean cults of all varieties, that of
    Osiris, that of the Great Mother, that of Mithras, for instance: in
    his discernment of this fact the genius of Paul showed itself. His
    instinct was here so sure that, with reckless violence to the truth,
    he put the ideas which lent fascination to every sort of Chandala
    religion into the mouth of the "Saviour" as his own inventions, and
    not only into the mouth--he made out of him something that even a
    priest of Mithras could understand. . . This was his revelation at
    Damascus: he grasped the fact that he needed the belief in immortality
    in order to rob "the world" of its value, that the concept of "hell"
    would master Rome--that the notion of a "beyond" is the death of life.
    Nihilist and Christian: they rhyme in German, and they do more than


    The whole labour of the ancient world gone for naught: I have no word
    to describe the feelings that such an enormity arouses in me.--And,
    considering the fact that its labour was merely preparatory, that with
    adamantine self-consciousness it laid only the foundations for a work
    to go on for thousands of years, the whole meaning of antiquity
    disappears! . . To what end the Greeks? to what end the Romans?--All
    the prerequisites to a learned culture, all the methods of science,
    were already there; man had already perfected the great and
    incomparable art of reading profitably--that first necessity to the
    tradition of culture, the unity of the sciences; the natural sciences,
    in alliance with mathematics and mechanics, were on the right
    road,--the sense of fact, the last and more valuable of all the
    senses, had its schools, and its traditions were already centuries
    old! Is all this properly understood? Every essential to the beginning
    of the work was ready;--and the most essential, it cannot be said too
    often, are methods, and also the most difficult to develop, and the
    longest opposed by habit and laziness. What we have to day
    reconquered, with unspeakable self-discipline, for ourselves--for
    certain bad instincts, certain Christian instincts, still lurk in our
    bodies--that is to say, the keen eye for reality, the cautious hand,
    patience and seriousness in the smallest things, the whole integrity
    of knowledge--all these things were already there, and had been there
    for two thousand years! More, there was also a refined and excellent
    tact and taste! Not as mere brain-drilling! Not as "German" culture,
    with its loutish manners! But as body, as bearing, as instinct--in
    short, as reality. . . All gone for naught! Overnight it became merely
    a memory !--The Greeks! The Romans! Instinctive nobility, taste,
    methodical inquiry, genius for organization and administration, faith
    in and the will to secure the future of man, a great yes to everything
    entering into the imperium Romanum and palpable to all the senses, a
    grand style that was beyond mere art, but had become reality, truth,
    life . . --All overwhelmed in a night, but not by a convulsion of
    nature! Not trampled to death by Teutons and others of heavy hoof! But
    brought to shame by crafty, sneaking, invisible, anemic vampires! Not
    conquered,--only sucked dry! . . . Hidden vengefulness, petty envy,
    became master! Everything wretched, intrinsically ailing, and invaded
    by bad feelings, the whole ghetto-world of the soul, was at once on
    top!--One needs but read any of the Christian agitators, for example,
    St. Augustine, in order to realize, in order to smell, what filthy
    fellows came to the top. It would be an error, however, to assume that
    there was any lack of understanding in the leaders of the Christian
    movement:--ah, but they were clever, clever to the point of holiness,
    these fathers of the church! What they lacked was something quite
    different. Nature neglected--perhaps forgot--to give them even the
    most modest endowment of respectable, of upright, of cleanly
    instincts. . . Between ourselves, they are not even men. . . . If
    Islam despises Christianity, it has a thousandfold right to do so:
    Islam at least assumes that it is dealing with men. . . .


    Christianity destroyed for us the whole harvest of ancient
    civilization, and later it also destroyed for us the whole harvest of
    Mohammedan civilization. The wonderful culture of the Moors in Spain,
    which was fundamentally nearer to us and appealed more to our senses
    and tastes than that of Rome and Greece, was trampled down (--I do not
    say by what sort of feet--) Why? Because it had to thank noble and
    manly instincts for its origin--because it said yes to life, even to
    the rare and refined luxuriousness of Moorish life! . . . The
    crusaders later made war on something before which it would have been
    more fitting for them to have grovelled in the dust--a civilization
    beside which even that of our nineteenth century seems very poor and
    very "senile."--What they wanted, of course, was booty: the orient was
    rich. . . . Let us put aside our prejudices! The crusades were a
    higher form of piracy, nothing more! The German nobility, which is
    fundamentally a Viking nobility, was in its element there: the church
    knew only too well how the German nobility was to be won . . . The
    German noble, always the "Swiss guard" of the church, always in the
    service of every bad instinct of the church--but well paid. . .
    Consider the fact that it is precisely the aid of German swords and
    German blood and valour that has enabled the church to carry through
    its war to the death upon everything noble on earth! At this point a
    host of painful questions suggest themselves. The German nobility
    stands outside the history of the higher civilization: the reason is
    obvious. . . Christianity, alcohol--the two great means of corruption.
    . . . Intrinsically there should be no more choice between Islam and
    Christianity than there is between an Arab and a Jew. The decision is
    already reached; nobody remains at liberty to choose here. Either a
    man is a Chandala or he is not. . . . "War to the knife with Rome!
    Peace and friendship with Islam!": this was the feeling, this was the
    act, of that great free spirit, that genius among German emperors,
    Frederick II. What! must a German first be a genius, a free spirit,
    before he can feel decently? I can't make out how a German could ever
    feel Christian. . . .


    Here it becomes necessary to call up a memory that must be a hundred
    times more painful to Germans. The Germans have destroyed for Europe
    the last great harvest of civilization that Europe was ever to
    reap--the Renaissance. Is it understood at last, will it ever be
    understood, what the Renaissance was? The transvaluation of Christian
    values,--an attempt with all available means, all instincts and all
    the resources of genius to bring about a triumph of the opposite
    values, the more noble values. . . . This has been the one great war
    of the past; there has never been a more critical question than that
    of the Renaissance--it is my question too--; there has never been a
    form of attack more fundamental, more direct, or more violently
    delivered by a whole front upon the center of the enemy! To attack at
    the critical place, at the very seat of Christianity, and there
    enthrone the more noble values--that is to say, to insinuate them into
    the instincts, into the most fundamental needs and appetites of those
    sitting there . . . I see before me the possibility of a perfectly
    heavenly enchantment and spectacle :--it seems to me to scintillate
    with all the vibrations of a fine and delicate beauty, and within it
    there is an art so divine, so infernally divine, that one might search
    in vain for thousands of years for another such possibility; I see a
    spectacle so rich in significance and at the same time so wonderfully
    full of paradox that it should arouse all the gods on Olympus to
    immortal laughter--Caesar Borgia as pope! . . . Am I understood? . . .
    Well then, that would have been the sort of triumph that I alone am
    longing for today--: by it Christianity would have been swept
    away!--What happened? A German monk, Luther, came to Rome. This monk,
    with all the vengeful instincts of an unsuccessful priest in him,
    raised a rebellion against the Renaissance in Rome. . . . Instead of
    grasping, with profound thanksgiving, the miracle that had taken
    place: the conquest of Christianity at its capital--instead of this,
    his hatred was stimulated by the spectacle. A religious man thinks
    only of himself.--Luther saw only the depravity of the papacy at the
    very moment when the opposite was becoming apparent: the old
    corruption, the peccatum originale, Christianity itself, no longer
    occupied the papal chair! Instead there was life! Instead there was
    the triumph of life! Instead there was a great yea to all lofty,
    beautiful and daring things!  . . . And Luther restored the church: he
    attacked it. . . . The Renaissance--an event without meaning, a great
    futility !--Ah, these Germans, what they have not cost us!
    Futility--that has always been the work of the Germans.--The
    Reformation; Liebnitz; Kant and so-called German philosophy; the war
    of "liberation"; the empire-every time a futile substitute for
    something that once existed, for something irrecoverable . . . These
    Germans, I confess, are my enemies: I despise all their uncleanliness
    in concept and valuation, their cowardice before every honest yea and
    nay. For nearly a thousand years they have tangled and confused
    everything their fingers have touched; they have on their conscience
    all the half-way measures, all the three-eighths-way measures, that
    Europe is sick of,--they also have on their conscience the uncleanest
    variety of Christianity that exists, and the most incurable and
    indestructible--Protestantism. . . . If mankind never manages to get
    rid of Christianity the Germans will be to blame. . . .


    --With this I come to a conclusion and pronounce my judgment. I
    condemn Christianity; I bring against the Christian church the most
    terrible of all the accusations that an accuser has ever had in his
    mouth. It is, to me, the greatest of all imaginable corruptions; it
    seeks to work the ultimate corruption, the worst possible corruption.
    The Christian church has left nothing untouched by its depravity; it
    has turned every value into worthlessness, and every truth into a lie,
    and every integrity into baseness of soul. Let any one dare to speak
    to me of its "humanitarian" blessings! Its deepest necessities range
    it against any effort to abolish distress; it lives by distress; it
    creates distress to make itself immortal. . . . For example, the worm
    of sin: it was the church that first enriched mankind with this
    misery!--The "equality of souls before God"--this fraud, this pretext
    for the rancunes of all the base-minded--this explosive concept,
    ending in revolution, the modern idea, and the notion of overthrowing
    the whole social order--this is Christian dynamite. . . . The
    "humanitarian" blessings of Christianity forsooth! To breed out of
    humanitas a self-contradiction, an art of self-pollution, a will to
    lie at any price, an aversion and contempt for all good and honest
    instincts! All this, to me, is the "humanitarianism" of
    Christianity!--Parasitism as the only practice of the church; with its
    anaemic and "holy" ideals, sucking all the blood, all the love, all
    the hope out of life; the beyond as the will to deny all reality; the
    cross as the distinguishing mark of the most subterranean conspiracy
    ever heard of,--against health, beauty, well-being, intellect,
    kindness of soul--against life itself. . . .

    This eternal accusation against Christianity I shall write upon all
    walls, wherever walls are to be found--I have letters that even the
    blind will be able to see. . . . I call Christianity the one great
    curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct of
    revenge, for which no means are venomous enough, or secret,
    subterranean and small enough,--I call it the one immortal blemish
    upon the human race. . . .

    And mankind reckons time from the dies nefastus when this fatality
    befell--from the first day of Christianity!--Why not rather from its
    last?--From today?--The transvaluation of all values! . . .


    FOOTNOTES created and inserted by H.L. Mencken:

    1. Cf. the tenth Pythian ode. See also the fourth hook of Herodotus.
    The Hyperboreans were a mythical people beyond the Rhipaean mountains,
    in the far North. They enjoyed unbroken happiness and perpetual youth.

    2. The lowest of the Hindu castes.

    3. That is, in Pandora's box.

    4. John iv, 22.

    5. David Friedrich Strauss (1808-74), author of "Das Leben Jesu"
    (1835-6), a very famous work in its day. Nietzsche here refers to it.

    6. The word Semiotik is in the text, but it is probable that Semantik
    is what Nietzsche had in mind.

    7. One of the six great systems of Hindu philosophy.

    8. The reputed founder of Taoism.

    9. Nietzsche's name for one accepting his own philosophy. [RETURN TO

    10. That is, the strict letter of the law--the chief target of Jesus's
    early preaching.

    11. A reference to the "pure ignorance" (reine Thorheit) of Parsifal.

    12. Matthew v, 34.

    13. Amphytrion was the son of Alcaeus, King of Tiryns. His wife was
    Alcmene. During his absence she was visited by Zeus, and bore

    14. So in the text. One of Nietzsche's numerous coinages, obviously
    suggested by Evangelium, the German for gospel.

    15. To which, without mentioning it, Nietzsche adds verse 48. [RETURN
    TO TEXT]

    16. A paraphrase of Demetrius' "Well roar'd, Lion!" in act v, scene 1
    of "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The lion, of course, is the familiar
    Christian symbol for Mark.

    17. Nietzsche also quotes part of verse 2.

    18. The quotation also includes verse 47.

    19. And 17.

    20. Verses 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 29.

    21. A paraphrase of Schiller's "Against stupidity even gods struggle
    in vain."

    22. The word training is in English in the text.

    23. I Corinthians i, 27, 28.

    24. That is, to say, scepticism. Among the Greeks scepticism was also
    occasionally called ephecticism.

    25. A reference to the University of Tubingen and its famous school of
    Biblical criticism. The leader of this school was F. C. Baur, and one
    of the men greatly influenced by it was Nietzsche's pet abomination,
    David F. Strauss, himself a Suabian. Vide § 10 and § 28.

    26. The quotations are from "Also sprach Zarathustra" ii, 24: "Of

    27. The aphorism, which is headed "The Enemies of Truth," makes the
    direct statement: "Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth
    than lies."

    28. A reference, of course, to Kant's "Kritik der praktischen
    Vernunft" (Critique of Practical Reason).

    29. I Corinthians vii, 2, 9.

    30. Few men are noble.


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